Antonio Conte has deployed Kante slightly deeper, the midfielder rarely getting ahead of the ball.
Shielding the defence, stealing possession, feeding the ball forward intelligently: Kante is playing the very role made famous by his forerunner.
Famously, the unglamorous Makelele fell victim to Florentino Perez’s starry-eyed galacticos system at Real Madrid, and found a new lease of life within the selfless collectivism of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. He left Spain aged 30 but played another eight seasons of top-level football.
Kante is only 25, and far more reliant on his energy and endurance, but the first three weeks of Conte’s equally team-centric regime have already offered signs that he may be able to adapt his game similarly.
Keen for another Keane Ironically enough, Mourinho — having been chewed up and spat out by the real Real Madrid — is now at the helm of the closest thing the English game has ever seen to a galacticos project.
Manchester United have spent the summer splashing eye-watering sums of money to acquire the sport’s glitziest names, and Paul Pogba, the project’s crown jewel, may well turn out to be the heir to a throne that has gone unclaimed at Old Trafford for over a decade.
Keane departed Manchester in 2005 in the only way he knew — seething acrimony, no regrets — and since then the spot vacated by the Irishman has rarely been less than glaring.
If the latter-years Alex Ferguson seemed weirdly intent on never again buying a senior midfielder, Mourinho has no such plans. He wanted Pogba last year, he got him this year. The parallels between the two players are numerous.
Keane’s status was cemented in Turin; Pogba left for Turin before boomeranging back to England, reputation similarly elevated. United broke their transfer record to sign both players — and while the club need only look to Juan Sebastian Veron for proof that searing talent and a soaring fee is no a guarantee of central-midfield success, the memories of Keane’s magnificence are an equally stark reminder that the new boy’s top-dollar pedigree makes him a close to a sure thing as there can be. — Fourfourtwo CAPE TOWN — The Board of Directors set official transformation targets for the South African national men’s team based on the deliberations of the Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Cricket and Cricket Pipeline sub-committees at its meeting tomorrow.
The targets require the national team to play an average minimum of 54 percent black players and average minimum of 18 percent black African players over the season.
This is a natural progression in the Board’s determination to drive transformation aggressively as part of CSA’S policy to make cricket a truly national sport accessible to all.
The targets will be an average of the cumulative representation across all three formats in a season.
“What is really encouraging,” commented CSA president, Chris Nenzani, “is that the Proteas, who are our flag bearers, are already achieving these targets and in some cases exceeding the targets we have just set.
“The Test starting XI that played in the recent Test series against New Zealand contained six players of colour and two Black Africans and the ODI starting XI had as many as eight players of colour (73 percent) in their most recent series against the West Indies and Australia, while the South Africa ‘A’ side had six players of colour and three Black Africans in the starting XI that beat the Australia National Performance Squad by nine wickets in the final match of their quadrangular series in Australia on Saturday.
The targets come into play with immediate effect. — Sport24 LONDON — Howard Webb has warned against turning officials into “remotecontrolled referees” after Mark Halsey claimed he had been told to say he had not seen incidents which could be open to video review.
Webb, a Premier League referee for 11 years who also took charge of the 2010 Champions League final and the World Cup final, said he himself had never been influenced by Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) over his match report.
Former Premier League referee Halsey replied to Twitter posts on Saturday about Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero’s three-match ban for violent conduct by alleging pressure for referees to say they have missed an incident to allow retrospective punishment.
“The first thing to be clear about is I can say, categorically, that I never came under pressure from the referees’ body to say I had not seen something I had during my refereeing career,” Webb, who is a former technical director of PGMOL, said.
“Halsey’s allegation is a significant one. The PGMOL has denied that any referee would come under pressure to lie about an incident but not said much more than that, which may be because they do not want to be drawn into a public row with someone they may feel is trying to keep his name in lights.”
The decision to take retrospective action is now made by a panel of three former referees, rather than the official who refereed the game. As FIFA begins trials of video technology, Webb believes the role of the referee could become further marginalised.