'Name a position after him': Ian Wright says £30m Chelsea man is going to go down as a footballing legend

Ian Wright claimed that N’Golo Kante should be recognised alongside Chelsea great Claude Makelele in years to come.

Speaking on The Kelly and Wright Show, Wright suggested that the current Stamford Bridge protector will be remembered in the same sentence as his predecessor.

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It would be easy to directly compare the two Frenchmen.

Passports aside, they are viewed as guardians of the defence, a shield from danger.

Plus, their respective efforts towards Premier League title-winning teams deserve recognition.

However, the similarities must stop there.

Same but different

Makelele’s name has been cemented in time, thanks to his authority as a single pivot in Jose Mourinho’s early Chelsea sides.

He played at the base of a midfield three, instructed to protect the back-line and disrupt play.

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Kante, meanwhile, forged his name in English football as part of a double-pivot within Leicester City’s remarkable 2015/16 squad.

He was much more of a box-to-box midfielder than Makelele, a trait that has continued into his Chelsea career after leaving the Foxes for £30m (BBC).

Yet, this shouldn’t prevent people from placing the mini-midfielder alongside the Blues icon in terms of importance and legacy.  

“Kante is probably one of those you’ll have to name a position after him, at some stage,” said Wright

“He is like Makelele, he is like (Patrick) Vieira and you’d have to say Kante as well.

“When someone comes along and they are exceptional, you get that: ‘he’s like Makelele, he’s like Vieira, he’s like Kante.’”

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Named after N’Golo

For an aspiring footballer – or existing one at that – to be associated with any of these midfielders is an honour.

All have individual qualities that make them stand out from the crowd.

But, what they do share is the ability to alter the dynamics of a club, for the better.

Chelsea set the best defensive record in modern top-flight history thanks to Makelele’s armour.

Kante became only the third man ever to win the league in successive seasons with two different teams.

Arsenal had not been Premier champions of the country until Vieira arrived in 1996; they were victorious three times with him in their midriff.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.