Mahrez: Kante an incredible player

Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez believes that his former teammate N’Golo Kante deserves more credit than he received for the Foxes’ miraculous title-winning campaign last season.

Algeria’s Mahrez and fellow forward Jamie Vardy were largely celebrated as the two major success stories of Leicester’s unforgettable season, but while Kante earned a move to Chelsea on the back of the East Midlanders’ success, the North African has argued he deserved more recognition.

ALSO READ: Makelele: Kante not yet an’exceptional player’

“We can see what he’s doing at Chelsea,” Mahrez told SFR Sport. “Last year, everyone was talking about me or Vardy, but Kante was on the same level.

“He’s an incredible player,” he added. “I had already played against him when I was at Le Havre, but I didn’t think that he was quite as good before he arrived in England.”

The 26-year-old also revealed that he’s still in touch with his ex-teammate.

“I still call him often,” Mahrez confided. “We see each other sometimes in London.”

While the two men enjoyed great success together last term, their fortunes have diverged quite starkly this season following Kante’s move to Stamford Bridge.

ALSO READ: Pogba struggling to deliver on a level with Chelsea’s bargain-buy Kante

The French international, who featured for Les Bleus during the European Championships on home soil last summer, appears firmly on course for second consecutive Premier League title following Chelsea’s largely flawless campaign to date.

After beating Stoke City on Saturday, Antonio Conte’s side sit on 69 points after 28 matches – ten points clear of nearest contenders Tottenham Hotspur – and after three back-to-back wins, they are moving inexorably forward towards another EPL crown.

Kante has continued to demonstrate his remarkably relentless qualities in the heart of the park for the Pensioners, having averaged 3.7 tackles per match and 2.4 interceptions per match so far this term.

Mahrez, by contrast, has largely failed to build on his successes of last season, with his struggles reflected by a Leicester side that have only picked up in recent weeks following the dismissal of coach Claudio Ranieri.

ALSO READ: Mahrez: Leicester players didn’t let Ranieri down

During the Foxes’ miraculous 2015/16 campaign, he was one of the stars of Claudio Ranieri’s side, contributing 17 goals and 11 assists en route to the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and PFA Fans’ Player of the Year award.

However, this term he’s struggled to replicate those numbers, with savvy defenders much more aware of how to shut down the maestro.

Before Ranieri’s exit, he’d managed just three goals and one assist in the EPL this term, with his slump being a key reason behind the Foxes’ slide towards the relegation zone.

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