N’Golo Kante entered full contact training at Chelsea, with France International now being able to play a part in the remaining Premier League fixtures of the Blues.
Doubts had been cast over the presence of the midfielder in the side of Frank Lampard ‘s nine games this season still has to come. That’s because he had been granted compassionate leave to stay away from Cobham during the coronavirus crisis due to fears regarding his health.
Kante played no part in the first phase of a return to training which initially ruled out any interaction between the players and staff. However, social distancing measures have been relaxed in the Premier League ‘s regular rounds of Covid-19 testing. In the last round, no positive results were reported, with a green light provided for resuming competitive football.
The English top-flight is expected to resume June 17, with Chelsea scheduled to return to action at Aston Villa on June 21.
Whether Kante will play any part in that outing, or any of those taking the Blues past the finishing post remains to be seen. He wasn’t involved in Saturday’s in-house training game at Stamford Bridge but is now squarely in the fold as Lampard steps up his preparatory plans.
Chelsea will continue to let Kante work at his own pace towards full match sharpness, which could result in him missing the opening rounds of fixtures.
Nevertheless, his presence in the engine room will be welcomed by a team that is still very much in contention for a top-four finish.
Securing European elite competition qualification should help Lampard’s quest to bring fresh faces into Stamford Bridge in the coming weeks.
A deal for Hakim Ziyech has already been wrapped up, while the Blues have also agreed to invoke the £ 54 million (€60m/$68 m) release clause in the RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner contract.