Graham Potter is right with N’Golo Kante call as Chelsea star’s past offers important reminder

Graham Potter confirmed on Friday that N’Golo Kante will not be taking part for Chelsea this afternoon following a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury.

Thomas Tuchel could not have spoken about N’Golo Kante in a more positive manner when asked about him in May.

“I think he is our key, key, key player,” the former Chelsea head coach said. “But key, key, key players need to be on the pitch, and he has played only 40 per cent of the games, so it is maybe a miracle that we arrive in third place.”

Kante is that player. He’s absolutely exceptional when he’s on it. The Chelsea midfielder, however, has been unable to gain any real momentum ever since he inspired the side to a Champions League win in 2021.

Leading up to the European final, Kante was Chelsea’s outstanding player and the Blues knew they would need the France international to be at it when they took on Manchester City in the final. The 31-year-old produced a man of the match display for Chelsea, who won the match 1-0 thanks to a famous goal from Kai Havertz.

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Last season, Kante missed a total of 13 games in all competitions due to various different injuries. That’s simply too many games for your best midfielder to miss and that’s why there’s big doubt over his future at the club.

This season already, he’s missed eight games after suffering a hamstring injury against Tottenham way back in August. After returning to training in the week, there was some hope he would be fit enough to return for this afternoon’s clash with Crystal Palace, but Graham Potter is not risking the midfielder.

“They’re [Edouard Mendy, also] absolutely fine in terms of coming through their rehab stages,” the Chelsea head coach said on Friday afternoon in his pre-match press conference. “NG [Kante] has just been on the grass with the team but not full training.”

It sounds very much from Potter’s comments that Chelsea are not rushing Kante back from injury. That is indeed the smart thing to do considering his injury-ridden recent history.

Especially with a muscular injury, they can be so easily irritated, which would see him ruled out for even longer. Kante needs time to recover properly otherwise Potter risks losing him for what is set to be an extremely busy October.

Chelsea face nine matches in all competitions over October and Potter will want Kante to be in the side for the majority of the matches before the World Cup later this year. However, his game-time will need to managed extensively during the busy period. The prospect of Kante playing three games in a week, or less, is a worrying one for Chelsea supporters to consider right now.


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