This time last week, N’Golo Kante was getting on a plane to Japan to join first-team training for the first time this summer and hopefully make his preseason debut as well. And while he did return to full training after spending the previous week working on the side following his own fitness program, his match debut will have to wait a bit longer. Yesterday, he was back on a plane to England, three days before the rest of the team.
The official line tried to lessen the impact of this development, but it’s hard to look at it as anything but a setback in his attempt to recover from the knee injury he suffered two months ago, just a few days before the Europa League final. Kante miraculously made it all the way through that game, and then even joined up with the French national team before being sent home with an “evolution” of the problem. Lampard had hoped to have Kante fit this week, but made it clear that we won’t be rushing him back under any circumstance.
So now, according to the Evening Standard, the new timeline is to have Kante back for the start of the season. Hopefully, the all-important midfielder will indeed be back in time to help us against Manchester United at Old Trafford on August 12, the first game of the new season.