Shinji Okazaki showers praise on Leicester team-mate N’Golo Kante
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 13/04/16 11:36pm
Shinji Okazaki believes Leicester team-mate N’Golo Kante has been the Premier League’s best player this season.
Kante has been Leicester's lynchpin in midfield this term, helping the Foxes reach the Premier League's summit, seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham with just five games remaining.
The Paris-born midfielder has also made a seamless transition to international football, scoring seven minutes into his France debut against Russia last month, on the night of his 25th birthday.
Japan international Okazaki is convinced Kante, who has been shortlisted for the PFA Players' Player of the Year award, can take his sensational form this term into this summer's European Championship.
"He deserves to be called, the most important player for Leicester City," Okazaki said.
"He is a role model who shows character and strength fully every game and gets a good evaluation every time.
"If Kante plays for France same as for Leicester, I'm sure he can help France a lot.
"Kante is in the MVP [most valuable player] class of the Premier League this season. No doubt, if he continues to do so, he can succeed for France, it is without question."
Danny Drinkwater and PFA nominee Jamie Vardy have also been hugely impressive for Leicester this season and Okazaki believes they will not disappoint if Roy Hodgson hands them the opportunity to turn out for England in France this summer.
"If both are able to play like when they play for Leicester, definitely both could be contributing a lot for England, it is no doubt," he added.
"I might not be the right person who can assess because they are big players now. But I can say one thing, the key is whether they can produce the same performances as they do for Leicester."