Mark 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.His 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.
LINCOLN, NE – SEPTEMBER 28: Quarterback Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes warms up before the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on September 28, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)On Friday night, the Ohio State Buckeyes dismantled the Northwestern Wildcats en route to their seventh win of the season. As the year goes on, Ryan Day and his team continue to raise eyebrows around the Big Ten.The Buckeyes entered this season as one of the top teams in the country. Nonetheless, the way they’re blowing out opponents on a weekly basis is still really impressive.Even though Ohio State had to prepare for an unusual Friday night showdown, the top team in the Big Ten didn’t disappoint.Justin Fields completed 18-of-23 pass attempts for 194 yards and four touchdowns. J.K. Dobbins chipped in with 121 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. After the game was over, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald couldn’t help but praise Ohio State.During his postgame press conference, Fitzgerald said “In my opinion, the best team in the country.”Pat Fitzgerald called Ohio State “In my opinion, the best team in the country.”— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 19, 2019It’s hard to disagree with Fitzgerald.Through the team’s first seven games of the season, the Buckeyes have outscored opponents by 292 points.Ohio State will face its toughest test of the year next Saturday when it hosts Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the hype surrounding that matchup has gone down since the Badgers were upset by the Fighting Illini this weekend.
GARDAÍ TARGETING THE sale and supply of drugs in Drogheda area seized over €30,000 worth of cannabis last night.As part of an intelligence-led operation gardai from the Detective unit in Drogheda carried out a planned search at an apartment in Mill Court, Mill Lane, Drogheda yesterday evening.The seizure is the latest in a string of cannabis finds, coming after larger quantities were found in Offaly and Wexford.Cannabis plants with an estimated street value of up to €34,000 (pending analysis) were seized.Gardaí say no arrests were made and the investigation is ongoing.Read: Another grow house uncovered by gardaí, over €200k of cannabis seizedRead: Court appearance for Wexford drug accused