N’Golo Kante has to be a serious contender for the PFA Player of the Year award, according to Chelsea colleague Gary Cahill.
The France international is fast closing in on back-to-back Premier League titles, having helped Leicester City to a remarkable triumph in 2015-16.
His efforts with the Foxes earned him a big-money move to Stamford Bridge, and Kante has not looked out of place within a star-studded Blues squad.
The attacking exploits of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa may have generated more headlines this season, but Antonio Conte is as reliant on his midfield enforcer as he is any other player.
Kante is a key cog in a well-oiled machine and Cahill believes he would be deserving of top personal accolades if they are to come his way at the end of another productive campaign.
He told talkSPORT: “He has to be in consideration for it [the Player of the Year award], for sure.
“Everyone has seen his qualities and what he brought to Leicester last season, with the story behind them winning the title.
“To come to a new club he has stepped up again and been tremendous this season. He works hard and is a humble guy off the pitch and on it he is phenomenal.
“I notice a lot obviously because he is just in front of me, he is winning balls he has no right to win and is also quality going forward – he breaks up play and bursts forward with the ball which eases the pressure on the back four and the team.”
While Kante has been a revelation in his debut campaign at Chelsea, so too has Italian coach Conte.
The former Juventus boss is still chasing down a domestic league and cup double in his first season at the helm, with Cahill revealing that a fresh approach has helped to spark the Blues back into life following a disappointing showing as defending champions last term.
“He’s injected his ideas.
“When people talking about what we were lacking last season, I think it was a freak season. We are sitting with the same bunch of players near enough which performed well and won the league under Jose [Mourinho, in 2015], we were top for nearly all of that season.
“It’s hard to say what drastically changed, just [Conte's] ideas and the way he sees football being played in terms of formation, we have just adapted to that.
“It’s been different for us and new for everyone to learn, that is really the difference and you can see his hunger for winning, his desire and work ethic rubs off on the players on a daily basis.”