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Special Juan

7. N'Golo Kante

Started by Special Juan,

1,855 posts in this topic
13 hours ago, Tomo said:

The world is starting to reopen again, football is a part of that.

Yes some are opening up.......this though stinks of Money and nothing else.

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3 hours ago, Jason said:

The world, or some parts of the world, may be reopening but whether it is safe to do so with sports is debatable. A lot of it is "forced" by the money involved...

With the sheer amount of testing and precautions being made its safer than a lot of work environments, infact I'd say our players will be a lot safer than when they last took the pitch against Everton.

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2 hours ago, Tomo said:

With the sheer amount of testing and precautions being made its safer than a lot of work environments, infact I'd say our players will be a lot safer than when they last took the pitch against Everton.

Your father died of a heart attack when you were 11

Your brother died of a heart attack years later

You had a heart scare a few years after that. 

You find out this virus can potentially kill those with underlying heart conditions. 

Would you still go out and increase your exposure of risk? 

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1 hour ago, Tomo said:

With the sheer amount of testing and precautions being made its safer than a lot of work environments, infact I'd say our players will be a lot safer than when they last took the pitch against Everton.

But it doesn't guarantee that one won't get it. You should know by now that the symptoms may not even show up until after a few days, if you unknowingly contracted it. And that's just the players. Still gotta consider those they put at risk - their children, wife, parents etc - and it's worse if they have some sort of health issue(s).

As I said above, the world will never be safe from the virus until a vaccine is found. The fear, paranoia are always gonna be there.

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1 hour ago, Jason said:

But it doesn't guarantee that one won't get it. You should know by now that the symptoms may not even show up until after a few days, if you unknowingly contracted it. And that's just the players. Still gotta consider those they put at risk - their children, wife, parents etc - and it's worse if they have some sort of health issue(s).

As I said above, the world will never be safe from the virus until a vaccine is found. The fear, paranoia are always gonna be there.

The risk is going to be there to some degree or another until a vaccine as you said, what if it never comes, do we shut off football for good?

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1 minute ago, Tomo said:

The risk is going to be there to some degree or another until a vaccine as you said, what if it never comes, do we shut off football for good?

No but in the Premier League's case, there has certainly been a sense that they are trying to rush things back.

Plus for argument sake, IF more players refuse to risk their lives and others and don't want to play, then what?

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1 hour ago, MoroccanBlue said:

Your father died of a heart attack when you were 11

Your brother died of a heart attack years later

You had a heart scare a few years after that. 

You find out this virus can potentially kill those with underlying heart conditions. 

Would you still go out and increase your exposure of risk? 

Kante (and Deeney) have every right to decide against playing if they don't feel comfortable, the same way Dennis Bergkamp had every right to decide against playing European away games (that he couldn't get to on time by driving) because of his fear of flying. 

The economy needs to be rebooted sooner rather than later because if not the consequences would far outreach anything this virus can do, that includes football the same way it does McDonald's.

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5 minutes ago, Tomo said:

The economy needs to be rebooted sooner rather than later because if not the consequences would far outreach anything this virus can do, that includes football the same way it does McDonald's.

If anything, it exposes how money driven football as a sport has become. The Premier League has been so desperate to mitigate the loss of hundreds of millions that they have been trying to force the season to resume when it's not quite safe yet. Their handling of the situation has been as bad as the UK government. 

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1 minute ago, Jason said:

No but in the Premier League's case, there has certainly been a sense that they are trying to rush things back.

No more than other countries. 

Italy and Spain (both of which have had more deaths per million than the UK) have been just as full on in trying to get their league's back on, the former of which officially announcing a restart on June 12th.

Interestingly according to The Athletic in Spain officials and players are all universally on the same page about restarting the season the moment it's logistically possible, I wonder why that is?

7 minutes ago, Jason said:

Plus for argument sake, IF more players refuse to risk their lives and others and don't want to play, then what?

Cross that bridge if we come to it, which isn't looking likely.

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At the end of the day its for money and nothing else. Its clear that money has more say than safety that much is evident.

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20 minutes ago, Jason said:

If anything, it exposes how money driven football as a sport has become. The Premier League has been so desperate to mitigate the loss of hundreds of millions that they have been trying to force the season to resume when it's not quite safe yet. 

I'm surprised LaLiga starting before PL. 

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26 minutes ago, Tomo said:

No more than other countries. 

Italy and Spain (both of which have had more deaths per million than the UK) have been just as full on in trying to get their league's back on, the former of which officially announcing a restart on June 12th.

Interestingly according to The Athletic in Spain officials and players are all universally on the same page about restarting the season the moment it's logistically possible, I wonder why that is?

Serie A and La Liga are only able to proceed with their restarts after the situation has gotten slightly better in their respective country but the Premier League were already trying to force a restart long before the shambolic UK government even announce anything on restarting anything in England.

How many times over the last month we heard or read stupid suggestions from the league to force the restart? Must look away when going into tackles, play in neutral grounds, ban team celebrations (essentially want them to social distance but it's okay to put in challenges, oh the irony) etc. Do those sound like the Premier League have it a clear, conscience plan on restarting the season? How many times have we heard players or managers coming out to voice their concern over restarting too soon? How many times have people brought up the concerns of taking medical supplies away from the frontline workers that's treating people with the symptoms/virus? Why do we still see players coming out and voicing their concerns? Compare to other leagues, the others have certainly handled things far better. 

26 minutes ago, Tomo said:

Cross that bridge if we come to it, which isn't looking likely.

That's why I said, "FOR ARGUMENT SAKE"...

So for argument sake, IF more players refuse to risk their lives and others and don't want to play, then what?

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N’Golo Kante – ‘When he wants to make himself heard, he does’

https://theathletic.com/1827853/2020/05/28/kante-chelsea-cobham-training-coronavirus-premier-league/

kante-chelsea-cobham-training-coronavirus-1024x682.jpg

A year on from Baku and, on the face of it, not much has changed for N’Golo Kante.

The Frenchman, severely hampered by a knee injury sustained in training a few days previously, had undertaken his gentle jogs away from the main group at the Olympic Stadium on the eve of Chelsea’s Europa League final. There had been some input from a physio, carefully monitoring his reaction to the simplest twist on the joint, before a conversation with the club’s medical director and an early trudge from the pitch for further treatment inside.

Kante, once again, is enduring a lonely existence away from his team-mates. He is back on site at Cobham and, sources have told The Athletic, has actually been working at Chelsea’s headquarters for the last few days. Yet, while other senior players congregate together for their drills — they have been in small groups but on Thursday, phase two training, including tackling, resumed — the World Cup winner has made his way to another part of the vast campus where he has conducted his own running session in isolation.

The 29-year-old, having initially taken part, made it clear on the second day of the players’ resumption earlier this month that he was uncomfortable with returning to group training while the nation remained in lockdown. He has seen COVID-19 cases diagnosed at other Premier League clubs and is unconvinced it is safe, or wise, to take part if there is even the tiniest risk of picking up the virus or passing it on to others. While he has complete faith in everything Chelsea have put in place, he is not abreast of the measures adopted by rival top-flight sides, against whom he would be competing if matches restart.

kante cobham training chelsea

No one, least of all his employers, is quibbling with his reasoning. After all, his elder brother, Niama, died of a heart attack shortly before France’s triumphant 2018 World Cup campaign. His father passed away when he was only 11. Kante’s life has already been touched by tragedy.

He has suffered his own health scares of late, passing out in the dressing room at the training ground in March 2018, although subsequent cardiology tests did not reveal any heart issue. At one point during the lockdown, a period he apparently spent at home with one of his brothers, he feared he had contracted the virus — although a subsequent test confirmed otherwise. Then there is the reality that, while research into COVID-19 is ongoing, data from the UK Office for National Statistics indicates a markedly higher mortality risk among BAME people.

So Kante’s situation is delicate. Everyone at Chelsea, from players to management to the hierarchy, is sympathetic with his concerns and there will be no pressure exerted on the club’s highest-paid and (when fit and in form) best player to plunge himself back into group sessions ahead of the anticipated resumption. “Everybody is different and we’ve seen that with the reaction of players, and that has to be respected in all ways,” said Frank Lampard last week. “We work every day as a family and a team, and we’ll respect everyone and how they feel about the restart and coming back to work.”

The programme Kante is following has been put together by the club’s fitness staff and, in line with that conducted by the squad as a whole, increases his workload progressively with a view to him being match-ready. There should be some encouragement drawn from the fact he has been working at Cobham again, rather than at home. He is on site, at least, and his progress can presumably be more easily monitored there.

But it would be understandable that a midfielder whose involvement this calendar year has been limited by injury to only four appearances might slip behind the other players in terms of his preparation now that more normal training, albeit minimising any unnecessary close contact, has resumed.

There is a constant dialogue between player and staff — not least with Lampard, gauging his mood and thoughts. Potentially, things may change once the swathe of tests undertaken by Premier League clubs starts returning clean bills of health on a consistent basis. But, until then, Kante’s stance is unlikely to mellow.

He has a reputation for being shy, modest and as selfless off the pitch as he is on it. He is the World Cup winner who snuck away in a taxi from the post-tournament festivities at the Elysee Palace to his mother’s house in Rueil-Malmaison on the western fringes of Paris. The player who had seemed reluctant even to grasp the trophy for fear of being the centre of attention back in the celebrations at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium a few days earlier, until Steven Nzonzi made a point of thrusting it into his hands.

As a boy, he was once uncharacteristically late for a training session at his local junior club, JS Suresnes, because he had been helping his mother — a cleaner — do the family food shop for him and his eight siblings at the local market. He is the man who, while at the French lower-league club Boulogne, made a point of asking his team-mate Eric Vandenabeele whether it would be OK for him to pray in the room they shared on away trips. Vandenabeele would hear him rise and attempt to perform Fajr as quietly as was feasible. He is polite, humble and, ironically, actually stands out as a result.

Some have interpreted that unassuming manner as timidity. In truth, as demonstrated by his decision over Project Restart, that quiet exterior belies a steely resolve in what he believes to be right.

“That is the perfect example of his strength of mind and character,” says Patrice Garande, who brought a young Kante, the best player in the French third tier, to Caen in 2013 and worked with him for two seasons. “If he doesn’t feel it’s safe for him to resume playing, either alongside or against others, he won’t. He has said, ‘No. Not yet’. That’s not the move of someone who is weak, who is easily cowed. He knows his mind. He knows what he wants and he takes responsibility. He is actually very, very strong-willed.

“He is quiet but, contrary to what people assume, N’Golo has a very big personality. He just expresses himself in a more reserved way, I guess, than most players. He’s well brought up, respectful to others, and the hierarchy. That makes him different to many other young players and people these days. Yes, he’s someone who doesn’t like being in the limelight. But, on the other hand, he knows what he wants. He’s driven. When he wants to make himself heard, he does.

“Before he first came to Caen in Ligue 2, I wondered whether he lacked the charisma to hold his own in the dressing room at a bigger club. But when we spoke, on a range of different subjects, he had a voice. If he didn’t agree, he told me so. He made it clear if he thought I was in the wrong. He had that strength. Whether in a professional or private context, he’s more than capable of fighting his corner, to put across his arguments why he disagrees and give his point of view.”

That strength is probably born of his upbringing and career path. The young Kante, nicknamed “petit frere” (“little brother”) in his youth, grew up in a small apartment in Rueil-Malmaison, trained five times a week at Suresnes and, despite excelling in the ninth division of the French pyramid, was overlooked by Rennes, Lorient, Sochaux and Amiens, who deemed him too small to thrive higher up. Each time he went to a trial, he would return car-sick and scarred but offering no excuses.

“If they didn’t rate me, it’s because I wasn’t up to the required level.”

Even when Boulogne eventually took a chance and handed him a deal, just after he had completed his baccalaureate in business management and administration (he subsequently studied for an accountancy qualification), he was the victim of a vicious tackle in his last game at Suresnes and was ruled out for four months. All at the club were incensed at that challenge but Kante apparently said nothing. He has never been one to complain.

Few of his team-mates back then knew of the death of his father. When his brother died in 2018, he put his faith in Islam. France Football spoke to one of his friends, Baptiste Cousseau, about that trauma. “He told me: ‘That is how it is. That is life. He has been called now’,” said Cousseau.

“N’Golo never forgets where he’s from and family and his faith are integral to everything he does,” Garande tells The Athletic. “But he has always known where he wants to go. Look at his career path, his choice of clubs. It’s always been about a progression. You have to admire the way he’s risen to the top, with Chelsea and the French national team. He puts himself in a position where he can constantly improve. There’s a thought to it all, a pattern. From the Championnat National to world champion in five years.

“But his mentality is always about the collective. The group. Just like his style of play — always geared towards the group. He doesn’t like talking about himself in public. He’s just not comfortable talking himself up. He’s a kid who dominates games in his own way but he doesn’t want to hog the focus. He likes being a key part of the collective. It’s his nature.

“He likes people and everyone loves him. There is an innocence to him — that’s why we hear stories like him going for a meal with a family he had met at King’s Cross, people he didn’t know, after missing his Eurostar to Paris — but, underneath, he is strong.”

Amid that resolve to do the right thing, there will be pangs of regret that he cannot be playing a full part back at Chelsea. It will hurt should he not be able to play a part when Premier League football does resume, most likely on June 17. The year since Baku has been frustrating, punctuated by niggling injuries and played out to the disconcerting backdrop of legal cases back in France as he attempts to sever ties with an image rights agent, Nouari Khiari. Kante had initially sued Khiari for fraud but is now the subject of a counter lawsuit.

There have been suggestions in France that the furore has seriously played on his mind and had even affected his form this term. A solid run of games over the run-in to an interrupted season might have dispelled that theory. But, at present, there are bigger issues with which Kante is wrestling.

Chelsea’s one truly world-class player will continue his preparations in isolation until the time is right for him to return.

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