N’Golo Kante has been named the Football Writers Footballer of the Year, pipping his Chelsea team-mate Eden Hazard who came in second place.
Kante was a revelation when Leicester City won the Premier League title last season, with his displays earning him a £32million move to Stamford Bridge in the summer. The France international has maintained a high level of performance, and having already been named PFA Player of the Year, he has now been recognised with 65 percent of journalists giving him the nod.
Hazard, who won both awards in the 2014/15 season, came second, and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli third. Kante will get his hands on the award, which was first rewarded to Blackpool’s Stanley Matthews in 1948, at a gala dinner in London on May 18, by which time he should have added a second successive league title to his collection ahead of an FA Cup final date with Arsenal.
“It is a fantastic honour to win this award,” said the midfielder, who began his career in his homeland with Boulogne and also starred for Caen before moving to England in 2015. “With so many great players in this Chelsea squad and in the Premier League, for the Football Writers’ Association of this country to name me as their Footballer of the Year is a very proud moment in my career.”
Chelsea, who are two wins away from reclaiming the Premier League trophy they won two years ago, had five players nominated for the FWA award. As well as Kante and Hazard, votes were cast for defenders David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta and striker David Luiz. All are expected to feature on Monday night when Antonio Conte’s side take on Middlesbrough in the capital.