Chelsea open their Premier League campaign against Man Utd on August 11, and it’s reported that they hope N’Golo Kante will be fit enough to feature.
The 28-year-old has been a fundamental figure for the Blues since arriving from Leicester City in 2016, as he has made 142 appearances in the past three seasons.
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With Lampard now in charge, he’ll be desperate to be at full strength when his first season in charge gets underway, and so the Chelsea boss will be hoping that Kante can recover in time from a knee injury to feature at Old Trafford.
As noted by the Evening Standard, it has since been suggested after the Frenchman left their pre-season tour in Japan that Chelsea are hopeful that having taken the decision to send him home to receive treatment, that will give him the best possible chance to recover in time to take his place in the starting XI.
That comes with its own concerns though as if Kante isn’t able to get minutes under his belt during pre-season, then he may well lack the match fitness to face United.
In turn, it’s a fine balancing act for Chelsea in the coming weeks as they’ll also be keen to avoid seeing Kante suffer any setbacks, and so it will be crucial that he gets the treatment he needs and is given time to fully recover.
The Frenchman will get other chances to feature in pre-season, as Chelsea are still scheduled to face Reading, RB Salzburg and Monchengladbach leading into that opener against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
With that in mind, Lampard and the rest of the squad will hope to return from their tour and have Kante join up with them in the coming weeks, but time will tell if the knee issue is serious enough to force him to miss the start of the new season.
That would undoubtedly be a welcome boost for the Red Devils, such is Kante’s influence on the pitch, with the Standard noting that Lampard is expected to push him back into a more natural role this coming campaign after being played in a more advanced position under Maurizio Sarri.