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Chelsea's Kante scoops top EPL award

Press Association logoPress Association 23/04/2017

N'Golo Kante has been voted the Professional Footballers' Association player of the year for the 2016-17 season.

The Chelsea midfielder, who is on course to win a second successive Premier League title after also being part of the Leicester side that upset the odds last season, secured the most votes from his fellow players.

He saw off competition from team-mate Eden Hazard - who won the award in 2015 - plus Tottenham's Harry Kane, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United and Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez.

Kante was presented with the award at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on Sunday evening.

"To be chosen by the players to be player of the year means a lot to me," the 26-year-old Frenchman said.

"It means the world to be chosen and it's been two beautiful seasons, one with Leicester, and we are in good form with Chelsea.

"To be player of the year, it's a great honour."

Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli won the young player prize for the second successive season, Manchester City's Lucy Bronze won the women's player of the year award for the second time having also won it in 2014, and Birmingham's Jess Carter topped the voting in the women's young player category.

Former England captain David Beckham received the PFA's Merit award for his contribution to the game.

Kante has played a key role in Chelsea's surge to the top of the league this season and is renowned as a tireless box-to-box competitor.

He is set to become the first player to achieve the distinction of winning successive Premier League titles with different clubs if Chelsea - four point leaders - can hold off Tottenham in this season's championship race.

"We have to fight for six more games," Kante said.

"We're going to fight like a final for every game, and hopefully we can win the league at the end of the season."

Chelsea could claim the domestic double after they reached the FA Cup final, where they will face Arsenal at Wembley on May 27 (May 28 AEST).

"We're going to fight for both competitions," Kante said.

"The cup is just one game, and the league six games, and we're going to give our best to win these two competitions."

Alli's young player prize is some consolation for his controversial omission from the six-man shortlist for the senior award.

The England midfielder, 21, has again been critical to Spurs' title push and heading in to the weekend was the highest-scoring player in the league not recognised as a forward, with 16 goals.

Beckham, who won 115 England caps and starred at club level for Manchester United, followed ex-Red Devils team-mate Ryan Giggs in winning the Merit prize. He also received the prize alongside his 'Class of 92' United team-mates in 2013.

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