N’Golo Kante voted as PFA player of the year by fellow players
Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli wins young player prize for second successive season
Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante and Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli during last Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley – Kante won the PFA player of the year award while Alli won the young player of the year award. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has been voted the Professional Footballers’ Association player of the year for the 2016-17 season.
The Frenchman, who is on course to win a second successive Premier League title after also being part of the Leicester side which upset the odds last season, secured the most votes from his fellow players.
He saw off competition from Chelsea team-mate Eden Hazard – who won the award in 2015 – plus Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.
Kante was presented with the award at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on Sunday evening. Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli won the young player prize for the second successive season.
Kante has played a key role in Chelsea’s surge to the top of the league this season and is renowned as a tireless box-to-box competitor who helps break up opposition attacks and initiate them for his own side.
He is set to become the first player to achieve the distinction of winning successive Premier League titles with different clubs if Chelsea can hold off Tottenham in this season’s championship race.
After receiving the award, Kante said “To be chosen by the players to be player of the year means a lot to me. “It means the world to be chosen and it’s been two beautiful seasons, one with Leicester, and we are in good form with Chelsea. To be player of the year, it’s a great honour.”
On his move from Leicester to Stamford Bridge, Kante continued: “It’s a different type of playing, but with the manager, with the players, everything is easy, because we work a lot to be good in the games. It’s working very well.”
Alli’s young player prize is some consolation for his controversial omission from the six-man shortlist for the senior award.
The England midfielder (21) has again been critical to Spurs’ title push and heading into the weekend was the highest-scoring player in the league not recognised as a forward, with 16 goals.
“I’m extremely proud. It’s a great honour for me — obviously the second year in a row — but I’ve still got a lot to do, I’ve got to keep working hard,” Alli said.
“I’ve got to keep improving. The big thing for me, after last season, is I wanted to put my chances away more. I got a lot of chances last season that I wasn’t putting away. I wasn’t as clinical.
“I’ve still got to improve on that, still had a few chances that I’ve missed, so I’ll keep working on that. But there’s a lot of little bits that need improving.”
Asked for the highlight of his season, Alli explained: “There have been a lot. The main one’s probably Chelsea at home, when we won 2-0, just because there was a lot that went into that game.
“When you feel the way the fans are and the way the players are building into the game, to not only win the game but to score two goals as well was massive.”
In the other awards, Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze won the women’s player of the year award for the second time having also won it in 2014, and Birmingham’s Jess Carter topped the voting in the women’s young player category.
England full-back Bronze won the women’s player of the year award for the second time, after being part of the Manchester City squad which won the Women’s Super League without losing a single game in 2016.
Birmingham midfielder Carter saw off competition from three Manchester City players to win the women’s young player of the year award.
Former England captain David Beckham received the PFA’s Merit award for his contribution to the game.
Beckham, who won 115 England caps and starred at club level for Manchester United, followed ex-Red Devils team-mate Ryan Giggs in winning the Merit prize. He also received the prize alongside his ‘Class of 92’ United team-mates in 2013.