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N’Golo Kanté completes 60 minutes in training-ground friendly against Charlton Athletic

Don’t call it a comeback

Chelsea FC Training Session And Press Conference Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea were hoping to use the international break to keep building up N’Golo Kanté’s fitness, and that quest took a pretty big step forward as he completed an hour in a friendly today against Charlton Athletic behind closed doors at Cobham.

A side comprised largely of Development Squad players took care of business in a torrential downpour to the tune of 3-0 — Dion Rankine, Silko Thomas, Malik Mothersille with the goals — but it was Kanté’s presence that was the biggest news.

UPDATE: Number-one fans Mason Mount and Thiago Silva were in attendance, too!

While we can’t really call this competitive per se, this was Kanté’s first match action in over seven months, since picking up a hamstring injury in our second game of the season, the 2-2 draw against 12-man Spurs in mid-August.

Two months later, in mid-October, it was deemed necessary for Kanté to have surgery, with a four-month recovery prognosis expected at the time. That’s now stretched into five months. But Kanté was on the bench last weekend, and should (“should”) be ready to feature after the international break. We’ve been very careful with the soon to be 30-year-old midfielder, but ideally we’ll have him back fully fit by the time the Real Madrid games roll around in three weeks.

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