Ilkay Gundogan Exclusive: N'Golo Kante Is The Toughest Midfielder I've Played Against
Some of the best midfielders in the world showcase their skills in the Premier League - Paul Pogba, Christian Eriksen, Fabinho - but none of them are tougher to play against than one pint-sized spoiler in royal blue, says Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan.
When asked who is the most difficult midfielder to play against the German international considered his answer for a second, before replying.
"N'Golo Kante is someone who's really annoying for a midfielder," he told SPORTbible at the launch of the new adidas Predator 20 Mutator. "For a midfielder like me who's into passing and controlling the game, it's not easy to play against someone like him.
"You feel like you're past him and then he just appears again. The Premier League has the best players in the world so every single game is tough and that's why I'm here - I want to challenge myself and compete with the best and Kante is one of the best midfielders in the world."
The modest Gundogan forgot to mention his goal during City's 6-0 demolition of Chelsea last season, when he curled a fine finish into the bottom right-hand corner of the net from the edge of the box, as Kante looked on helplessly.
Since joining City in June 2016, Gundogan has faced off against the French World Cup winner six times in domestic competition, playing his part in four victories. Maybe it's the German who has been giving Kante the run around with this intelligent positioning and incisive passing.