N'Golo Kante: Chelsea player 'best midfielder in the world' - Frank Lampard

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Everybody loves N'Golo: Pundits purr over Kante

Chelsea's N'Golo Kante is currently the "best central midfielder in the world", says Blues legend Frank Lampard.

Kante, 25, scored as Antonio Conte's side beat Manchester United 1-0 on Monday to reach the FA Cup semi-finals.

Former England captain Alan Shearer, a BBC Sport pundit at Stamford Bridge, said: "I think you are looking at the Football Writers' player of the year and the players' player of the year."

Lampard described Kante as a "driving force" as Chelsea chase a Double.

The France international, who arrived in a £30m deal from champions Leicester last summer, has been a key figure as the Blues have moved 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Kante's goal on Monday was just his second of the season - both of them against United.

Former Red Devils defender Phil Neville, who was working alongside Shearer and Lampard, described the Frenchman as the "most effective midfielder in Europe at the moment".

He added: "I don't see anyone with the influence he has on a team. He's a number six, an eight and a 10. He breaks up play and then sometimes he finishes it off too."

On naming Kante as his man of the match, BBC summariser and former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said: "Man of the match? It's men of the match. He was everywhere."

'Kante is a £30m bargain'

Kante's midfield battle against France team-mate Paul Pogba, who cost United a world-record £89m fee in August, was one of the key sub-plots from the quarter-final tie at Stamford Bridge.

Kante's all-round performance, capped by his match-winning goal, drew praise from most observers, while Pogba struggled to impress in a frustrating evening for his team.

"Kante was perpetual motion, starting attacks, breaking up moves and crowning another magnificent performance with the winning goal, emphatically drilled past De Gea. Pogba simply could not get into the game," Phil McNulty, BBC Sport's chief football writer, said in his match report.

"Chelsea's fans revelled in Pogba's struggles as they chanted 'what a waste of money' - no such charges will be levelled at Kante, who looks a £30m bargain."

Kante had 91 touches against United, only bettered by team-mates Cesar Azpilicueta and Eden Hazard, and made more tackles and clearances (four of each) than any other Chelsea player.

He also won more 50-50 duels with an opponent (78.6%) than any other outfield player.

N'Golo Kante v Paul Pogba

Kante 'even better' than last season

Chelsea defender Gary Cahill: "N'Golo has been fantastic. His performance level is right up there.

"You saw what he did last season but he has kicked on again this season.

"He is a humble guy off the pitch and works hard. He is so important, especially to us at the back.

"He's been a tremendous addition to the squad."

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FA Cup: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United highlights

Kante to become best midfield player ever?!

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'One-third of the price, three times the player' - your #bbcfacup reactions

Keith Gray: Kante = 1/3 of the price of Pogba, but 3x the player on tonight's performance.

Joel Upward: Kante is MOTM tonight by a long way, he is the equivalent of three players and is all over the pitch, great viewing for a neutral.

James: £30m for Kante or £90m for Pogba? Know who I would want in my side.

Johnny Magrinho: Sad thing is if Kante didn't score tonight he wouldn't be getting so much attention. The best and only DM in the Prem right now.

Garrett: As much as you like Kante's performance, Iniesta is king of the midfield. Will take someone special to topple him.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Monday 13th March 2017

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