Leicester City's N'Golo Kante a spitting image of Chelsea great Claude Makelele

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Football News

Very few Premier League players can claim to have made such an impact on the modern game as former Chelsea midfielder Claude Makelele.

The Frenchman redefined the role of defensive midfielder under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho, which is now widely known in England as the 'Makelele role'.

Since he left Chelsea in 2008, many midfielders have come to England's top-flight and been compared to the former Real Madrid man, but very few have come as close as Leicester City’s N’Golo Kante.


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Just like Makelele back in 2003, it was Claudio Ranieri who brought Kante to the Premier League, paying just £5.8 million to lure him from Ligue 1's Caen last summer.

Since then, the 24-year-old has emerged a key player for the Foxes and could cap off a brilliant debut season with a Premier League winner's medal.

When Mourinho first took charge of Chelsea back in 2004, one of his first tasks was to help mould Makelele into a solid defensive midfielder and one that could effectively shield the Blues' defence to allow Frank Lampard greater freedom when pushing forward.

The transition was somewhat revolutionary at the time given an out-and-out defensive midfielder was rarely used in the English game.

Kante has been deployed in a similar role at the King Power Stadium this campaign, with his defensive duties allowing Danny Drinkwater to move forward into more attacking positions and help dictate play alongside wingers Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton.

He has also taken on the mantel of deep-lying playmaker, with his wide range of passing helping to set up attacks, much like Makelele did for Chelsea.

Statistics serve to further support the influence Kante has on Ranieri's side - only Aston Villa's Idrissa Gueye has made more interceptions in the Premier League than the Frenchman.

Ranieri deserves great credit for Kante’s success this season having stuck with him over Switzerland's Gokhan Inler.

When the Foxes were struggling at the back during the first half of the campaign it would have been easy for the self-proclaimed 'Tinkerman' to leave out Kante, yet he kept the faith and has been duly rewarded.

Kante will now have his sights set on leading his side to the Premier League title, much like Makelele did in 2005 and 2006, and whilst it's unlikely fans will start calling it the 'Kante role' anytime soon, he seems to be mastering the Makelele alternative rather quickly.

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