N'Golo Kante has finally been recognised as the individual champion that he has always been after adding the FWA Footballer of the Year award to his PFA Player of the Year accolade.
His double award has come a year too late, but it is better late than never and you can be sure Kante will remain humble after a decade-long battle to get to the top of the game.
Kante's former Leicester team-mate Riyad Mahrez won the PFA prize last season, with Jamie Vardy taking the FWA honour, and it has taken an extra year of relentless running, tackling and composed passing for the France international to finally catch the eye.
1 - N'Golo Kante has made more tackles (289) and interceptions (235) than any other PL player since the start of last season. Award. pic.twitter.com/ptNQ7ekjHy
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 8, 2017
Eden Hazard is unlucky not to have won the awards but Kante edges it because of his unparalleled consistency. His contribution isn't measured in goals and assists, but there is plenty of evidence that he has been integral to Chelsea's likely coronation as Premier League champions.
In the past two seasons, Kante has been number one for tackles with Everton's Idrissa Gueye following closely behind. Kante has more tackles than any other player since he joined the Premier League with 289 and counting.
He only has one goal and one assist in the league but his strike against Manchester United in the FA Cup was crucial too. He is the sixth-highest passer in the Premier League currently with 2,011 and a pass completion rate of 88.7% which shows his ability is more than just tackling and defending.
Antonio Conte has developed Kante to be more decisive in the final third and his passing has improved hugely since his £32 million move to west London. He has also had the seventh-most touches of the ball, despite not being in the top 30 players for minutes on the pitch.
Tackles, passes and touches show that, when you watch Chelsea live, you will be watching Kante putting in an integral display every time.
His award double is timely, as his side chase a league and cup double, and his rise to prominence is remarkable given Kante's early career.
Kante struggled to find a professional team only 10 years ago as he faced rejection at 16 years old and learned accountancy, coming close to falling out of the game.
Amiens, Sochaux, Rennes, Lorient and AS Beauvais Oise all said that he would not make the grade before Boulogne finally signed him up from the amateur club JS Suresnes.
N'Golo Kante is Footballer of the Year https://t.co/MDyBQ2cBRY
— The FWA (@theofficialfwa) May 8, 2017
Many said he was too small - but the size of his determination and character are something that can't be measured. Kante exudes class, even as he hides it behind his shy and humble character.
His talent has finally shone through and Kante's work on the pitch can no longer be ignored. In a game that celebrates cocky strikers, it is refreshing to see a defensive contribution celebrated and long may that continue.
Kante has had to work so hard to become one of the world's best players that there is almost no chance that this success will get to his head. In fact, expect him to get even better as his quiet confidence grows.