Burnley midfielder Joey Barton has questioned the praise heaped on Chelsea’s N’golo Kante, saying that the player is merely “fashionable”.
Barton, who featured in his club's 1- draw with the likely Premier League champions in February, has criticised the English media for creating the perception that Kante is one of the finest players in the game today.
“In England, there are boxes and it is impossible to get out of them,” he told Le Journal du Dimanche. “At the moment, for example, everyone swears by N’Golo Kante. It’s fashionable."
“For pundits, he’s the best midfielder in the world," the 34-year old continued. "That’s not the case – he’s very good, but I played against him three weeks ago.
“He’s a phenomenal destroyer who played in a phenomenal team, but he’s not a creator. And it’s impossible to be so definitive with a player who has not played in the Champions League," he added.
Barton went on to compare the hype around Kante to that of experienced by Dimitri Payet last season. The French midfielder was one of the Premier League's top players in 2015/16 but has struggled to make an impact this season.
“He was incredible last season with West Ham, which surprised everyone, including me. When I was with Marseille and he played with Lille, he was only seen against Sochaux and Brest – never in the big games. It was the same with OM afterwards.
“But in England, it was different after his first game. Except, no big club made a move for him: it was China or Marseille? Why?
“We focus too much on a player when he works well, we don’t focus on how he behaves in difficulty. If you look at Zlatan Ibrahimovic at PSG, he was very consistent – that’s the mark of a great.”