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Former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri was heavily criticised last season for failing to use N’Golo Kante as a defensive midfielder. Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was also criticised by some after the defeat to Manchester City for failing to sit Kante in front of the back four.
According to Jamie Redknapp, Kante has never been a defensive midfielder. Redknapp insists it’s a myth that Kante sat deep and central in front of the back four during his time at Leicester City.
“I remember standing with Leicester City’s coaches on the final day of the 2015-16 season after they had won the title and asking about their use of N’Golo Kante in midfield,” Redknapp wrote in Daily Mail.
“They told me: ‘We play Kante on the left, then Danny Drinkwater in the middle, then Kante on the right!’ That is what he did for them and that is what he is doing for Chelsea, too. He is perpetual motion.
“Lots of people seemed to get it in their heads that his time at Leicester was spent sat deep and central in front of the defence but that is a myth. He was left, right, central, wherever you want him. Maurizio Sarri grew frustrated last season with the way every man and his dog was criticising his use of Kante.
“He’s the best defensive midfielder in the world and you’re using him out of position,’ he was told, over and over. Sarri got so tired of this, he actually went out of his way to invite us at Sky to their training ground.
“He wanted to take the time to explain his tactics and set-up, and it was especially fascinating to hear him talk about Kante. He felt very strongly about using the Frenchman to the side of Jorginho and told me Leicester used him the same way.
“The critics continued to have a go, of course, and fans started to chant ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ at him. ‘Sarri-ball’ wound up bursting and he left the club. But now, Frank Lampard is in charge and using Kante in the same way.
“I was at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening and the 28-year-old was Chelsea’s best player. He showed his experience and proved why he is more than just your garden-variety defensive midfielder.”