I had to touch Kante to confirm he was real man, Thierry Henry

The former Arsenal striker paid a visit to Chelsea’s training ground complex in Cobham – primarily to interview Belgian superstar Eden Hazard.

But the Premier League legend could not help but engage with Kante after seeing the French enforcer heading for the changing rooms.

Kante, 25, has been one of Antonio Conte’s stand-out players this season as the Blues have moved 10 points clear in the title race.

Henry said in his column for The Sun: ‘I was at the Chelsea training ground last week to see Eden Hazard and noticed N’Golo Kante wandering back to the changing rooms.

‘So I went over to him and stood in front of him. And I poked him in the chest. I had to, just to check if he was real! “You are real, you are!” I said, and he laughed.

‘Well, he may be real — but he’s certainly not normal. And I see no reason why he shouldn’t be PFA Player of the Year at the end of the season.’

Kante was hugely influential in firing Leicester City to a stunning title last season and has maintained his levels of performance for the Blues.

Henry believes he deserves to be named the Player of the Year, despite also being impressed by the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sadio Mane, Dele Alli and Alexis Sanchez.

‘Hazard and Diego Costa will be on the tip of a lot people’s pens but so too should N’Golo,’ Henry added.

‘It’s never usually his type of player who wins these awards. People pay to see Costa rattle them home or Hazard score goals like he did against Arsenal.

‘Usually your Kante-type player goes relatively unnoticed. They are only missed when they’re not there. But Kante is so special, you DO notice him.

‘It’s an art to sense danger, to tackle, to intercept.’

Kante made his 26th appearance of the season for Chelsea on Sunday in the hard-fought 1-1 draw at Burnley.

The league leaders now turn their attentions to the FA Cup and a fifth round clash with Championship outfit Wolves next weekend.



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