‘I’d never heard of Kante when Leicester signed him!’

first_imgMark Schwarzer had never heard of N’Golo Kante when he arrived at Leicester City but soon grew to realise that he was a superstar in the making.Leicester would go on to win their first Premier League title in 2016 with Kante in their midfield, with the Frenchman going on to be a key player for his national team and also sealing a switch to Chelsea.Having won the Premier League twice, the FA Cup, the Europa League and the World Cup, it is easy to forget that just five years ago Kante was playing in the second division in France. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Schwarzer, who deputised for Kasper Schmeichel at Leicester, lined up alongside the 28-year-old in cup competitions and soon realised that he had the potential to be a top-class player.”I had never heard of him when we signed him,” Schwarzer told Goal. “We watched him training and thought ‘wow, he has something.’ Then that progressed and progressed. He is pretty shy. On a football pitch he comes out of himself a bit more but he is still a very shy individual.”That had a lot to do with the language barrier. Since learning English, he has come out of himself a little bit more but he is very much firmly with his feet on the ground. What you see on the football pitch on a matchday is the same as on the training field.”He doesn’t turn it on and off. He is pretty much that every day on a football pitch. After he played a few League Cup games, you thought ‘he needs to go straight into the team, he is what we need’.”The minute he played, you knew. ‘Wow, he is incredible’. Then you think ‘how long can he keep it up?’ And he kept going on and on. His work rate is unbelievable and he does it effortlessly. When you look at his face, he doesn’t look tired. He always has a smile on his face and it is a genuine one. I can’t speak highly enough about him.”Kante’s start to the season has been plagued by injury after he played through a knee injury in the 4-1 Europa League final win over Arsenal, only to then be sidelined for several months as he recovered.N'Golo Kante Leicester CityHis return to the Chelsea first-team has seen him suffer an ankle injury and, with Frank Lampard requesting he is left out of the France squad over the international break, Schwarzer thinks that burnout will be the Frenchman’s biggest obstacle this season.”For N’Golo this season, I think the biggest issue has been the sheer number of games he has played over the last couple of years,” he added. “He has had slight niggles and always played on. He is a phenomenal athlete. A very humble guy and a great footballer.”His rise is well-documented and it has been phenomenal. I was very fortunate to have spent a season with him. I played a couple of games in the League Cup with him. From the minute he played, you could tell he had something special.”In terms of his strengths, I think they were underutilised under [Maurizio] Sarri last season. The expectation of getting forward, he has the ability to do it as he showed, but his real strength is breaking up the play and gaining it back.”He gives cover for the backline. If they have a fit N’Golo Kante, he should sit next to Jorginho or Kovacic. Kante gives that important balance that they don’t have when he isn’t there.”Schwarzer also commented on Petr Cech’s decision to return to Chelsea in a role as technical and performance advisor, insisting that he always knew the former Arsenal goalkeeper wouldn’t settle for a role as a coach or pundit.”I used to chat with him a lot. You could tell he wasn’t just going to be a goalkeeping coach or sit in front of the camera and do the media side of things. He had grander ideas for his future,” Schwarzer continued. “It is a perfect position for him. He takes an interest in football as a whole.”He tries to make every aspect of his game better. That will transfer into his role as he looks to get small percentages out of people. I think he has some good ideas and he is very open-minded when it comes to learning new things as well.”Mark Schwarzer provides expert comment for Optus Sport which is the exclusive Australian broadcaster of the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.last_img read more

Fisher leaders disappointed over outcome of talks

“Both India and Sri Lanka failed to note it was the livelihood issue of Tamil Nadu fishermen and it has to be approached with a humanitarian touch,” he told The Hindu. (Colombo Gazette) “The whole exercise turned out to be futile and it was totally disappointing,” U. Arulanandham, president of the Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF), told The Hindu . It was shocking that Ms. Swaraj could not prevail upon the Sri Lankan government to secure the release of 115 boats detained in the island nation for more than one-and-a-half years, he said. A cross-section of fisher leaders has expressed disappointment over the outcome of the recent high-level meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in Delhi to find a solution to the long-standing ‘livelihood issue’ of Tamil Nadu fishermen, The Hindu newspaper reported.“We are not at all satisfied with the decision to set up a Joint Working Group (JWG), joint patrolling and hotline between the Coast Guards of the two countries to address the issue as none of the measure would help to find a solution to the issue,” a leader who was part of the delegation that held talks with their Sri Lankan counterparts, ahead of the high-level meeting, said. It was also distressing to note that Ms. Swaraj could not secure the release of the mechanised and country boats held in Sri Lanka, he said.Mr. M. Ilango, leader of the National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF), said the decision to set up a JWG was only an eyewash. “If Ms. Swaraj and Mr. Samaraweera could not decide on securing the release of the boats, it will be foolish to hope the JWG will secure the release,” he said.The decision to set up joint patrolling and establish hotline between the two coast guards was aimed at chasing away the Tamil Nadu fishermen, he said. No doubt Ms. Swaraj, recovering from an illness, took sincere efforts to find a solution, but the exercise went in favour of the Sri Lankan fishermen, he alleged. Most of the boats were badly damaged and the fishermen would receive only some wooden planks and scraps when the Sri Lankan authorities returned the boats, he rued. The Tamil fishermen from northern Sri Lanka, who were crying foul about destruction of marine resources, should understand the steps taken by the State government to protect the marine resources, he said.Mr. P. Sesu Raja said it was unfortunate that the Indian government, which wrested an assurance from the Sri Lankan government that the fishermen would not be attacked, failed to secure an assurance that they would not be arrested till alternative arrangements were made. The leaders had high hopes that the two governments would work out a solution and allow Tamil Nadu fishermen to fish in the Lankan waters in the Palk Bay for specific period till they switched over to deep-sea fishing or phased out bottom trawling; but, they were disappointed. read more