N’Golo Kante reveals ‘setbacks’ on road to Chelsea success

N’Golo Kante has revealed his trademark humility stems from a string of “setbacks” as a youngster trying to break into professional football.

The Chelsea midfielder has earned global accolades as much for his midfield supremacy as his low-key demeanour and lifestyle.

But the 30-year-old has explained how he never loses sight of his fortune to have hit the big time despite tasting rejection in his younger years.

“It’s not necessarily staying humble,” Kante told Chelsea’s official website. “To get here, to join Chelsea, to join the French team, was a long journey with a lot of setbacks.

“From a young age, training centres didn’t accept me, and I failed numerous times at my attempts to join professional teams.

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“It’s just being grateful for my journey; remembering all the people I have met, and who also wanted this career, to make a living out of football.

“I succeeded, and it’s about enjoying it all. It’s knowing how far I’ve come and enjoying it all, and going as far as I can while I can.

“One thing I’ve been told here is that once you arrive at Chelsea, the main objective is to win titles. In fact we have that in mind from the beginning of the season, we work for it all season long, and it keeps us motivated.

“Every time we train, every time we play, our focus is winning. If things can be as good as they have been in the last few years, it would be great for me and for all the Chelsea fans.”

Kante’s dominant midfield displays leave him pivotal to Chelsea’s set-up under Thomas Tuchel a boss so impressed with the World Cup-winner as to brand him “Superman” this season.

Chelsea’s German coach revealed part of Kante’s success comes from his ability to recharge his batteries in his spare time.

“When I say he switches on, on the pitch, he is really the guy to switch off, off the pitch,” Tuchel told Chelsea’s official website.

“He can be so calm, be almost shy, play his rounds of chess, he can sleep for hours and hours and hours, and take his rests.

“So he plays hard but he rests really hard, and this is maybe the key to his success.

He’s like one-and-a-half players, like an extra half player minimum

“He’s totally humble, and totally calm and a nice guy to have. Once he is in top shape, not injured and mentally in the space where he trusts himself physically, then he has such a huge impact.

“He’s like one-and-a-half players, like an extra half player minimum. We have the feeling we have two N’Golos, one in offence and one in defence.

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“He’s helping everybody off the pitch and don’t forget he gives a lot of confidence to everybody around him and lifts everybody up.

“So, what can I say? I’m happy, and very lucky that he’s in our squad.”

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