Joey Barton has hit out at pundits for suggesting that Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is one of the outstanding midfielders in the world game.
He has criticised the media’s attitude towards players and says that in the UK, pundits are not open enough to changing their minds.
“In England, there are boxes and it is impossible to get out of them,” he told Le Journal du Dimanche. “At the moment, for example, everyone swears by N’Golo Kante. It’s fashionable.
“For pundits, he’s the best midfielder in the world. That’s not the case – he’s very good, but I played against him three weeks ago.
“He’s a phenomenal destroyer who played in a phenomenal team, but he’s not a creator. And it’s impossible to be so definitive with a player who has not played in the Champions League.
“Two years ago, no-one knew who he was and I was surprised that the scouts missed him. I’m sceptical, like Dimitri Payet.
“He was incredible last season with West Ham, which surprised everyone, including me. When I was with Marseille and he played with Lille, he was only seen against Sochaux and Brest – never in the big games. It was the same with OM afterwards.
“But in England, it was different after his first game. Except, no big club made a move for him: it was China or Marseille? Why?
“We focus too much on a player when he works well, we don’t focus on how he behaves in difficulty. If you look at Zlatan Ibrahimovic at PSG, he was very consistent – that’s the mark of a great.”