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Borussia Dortmund

N’Golo Kante truth surely now evident to all as Thomas Tuchel’s ‘dream’ comes true – Andy Dunn

Six years after he arrived on the English scene, surely we all get it by now. N’Golo Kante does more than cover ground.

The well-meaning wise cracks are still knocking around but there cannot be anyone left out there who thinks there is little more to Kante’s game than interceptions, pressing and relentless running.

To be fair, it is only because those aspects of his game are so phenomenal that other qualities get overlooked.

When Vinicius Junior surged dangerously infield in search of an equaliser just before half-time, Kante swooped from nowhere to dispossess the Brazilian.

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It summed up Kante’s defensive performance. They don’t seem to hear him coming. He gets into areas where gas couldn’t.

But Kante, from the moment he arrived in England, has never been a purely destructive operator.

Kante was terrific for Chelsea against Real Madrid
Kante was terrific for Chelsea against Real Madrid

You do not become a Footballer of the Year solely because you can time a tackle like few others.

You do not hold down a place in a World Cup-winning team just because you can hustle.

You do those things because you can play a cute one-two and then feed in a crucial pass, as Kante did in the build-up to Timo Werner’s opening goal.

You do those things because your footballing intelligence can create chances, as it did against Madrid in both legs.

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And when Kante produces those interceptions, when he seems to appear out of the blue jerseys to make those tackles, it is not just down to his speed and agility.

It is because he has read the game, anticipated the movement of others.

Tuchel said he 'dreamed' of having Kante in his side
Tuchel said he ‘dreamed’ of having Kante in his side

These are priceless qualities and that is why Kante is now probably one of the highest earners at Stamford Bridge.

If he is not, he should be.

But Kante has turned 30 and he will need managing carefully by Thomas Tuchel. As he has grown older as a player, it has become more and more clear that Kante is a thoroughbred, not a workhorse.

After his stellar performance in Madrid, Kante was spared a full 90 minutes in the Premier League at the weekend, and you could tell.

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That is good management.

Tuchel has said that when he managed Borussia Dortmund and Paris St Germain, he ‘dreamed’ of having Kante on his books.

Now, he has finally got him.

And if the German continues to get the very best out of one of the very best players of the modern Premier League era, Tuchel will last a lot longer than most Chelsea managers.

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