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'When you see him, you have to smile' - Havertz on Kante influence at Chelsea

03:01 GMT+4 05/06/2021
N'Golo Kante Chelsea 2020-21
The midfielder and defender are both fierce competitors, and all three could be in action in France and Germany's Euro 2020 opener

Chelsea star Kai Havertz paid tribute to N'Golo Kante following Chelsea's recent Champions League win and admitted that he would rather not meet him at Euro 2020. However, Havertz did say he was pleased to get to compete alongside fellow Blues player Antonio Rudiger this summer with Germany.

Havertz said Kante makes everyone smile in the dressing room, changing the dynamic off the pitch just as he influences things on it.

The former Leicester City star enjoyed a fantastic 2020-21 season, capped with his first Champions League title after the Blues got the better of Manchester City in Saturday's final. Rudiger, meanwhile, endeared himself to Chelsea fans with a rugged series of performances down the stretch of the campaign.

What was said? 

"When you see [Kante], you have to smile. He is a great personality and a great person," Havertz told reporters on Friday. 

"And a great football player. As an attacking player, I'm always happy when he is on the pitch. You can make a lot of mistakes because he always wins the ball back. He's fast, agile and always gets his leg in.

"That's why it's not so nice to have to play against him in the first match of the European Championship, of course."

"A warrior on the pitch" 

Havertz and Kante will indeed soon be on opposite sides of the pitch, as France and Germany meet in their Euro 2020 Group F curtain-raiser on June 15.

The 21-year-old is nevertheless delighted to see Rudiger make the cut for Joachim Low's squad, with the defender also playing a big part in Chelsea's second Champions League triumph.

"[Rudiger] has given us so much stability over the last few months.," the ex-Leverkusen ace said. "After Tuchel's arrival, he played outstandingly.

"As a mentality player, he's also important. On the pitch, he's a warrior. A bit like Kante - you want him in your team.

"Playing against him in training isn't as much fun either. The last few months have been top. It was very hard for him at first and now he's fought his way out of it."

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