Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is hopeful the upcoming international break will give midfielder N’Golo Kante the time he needs to recover from an ankle injury.
Didier Deschamps chose to leave Kante out of his France squad for the world champions’ Euro 2020 qualifiers against Albania and Andorra next month, and Chelsea will also have to go without the 28-year-old for Saturday’s visit of Sheffield United to Stamford Bridge.
Missing most of the Blues’ pre-season action with the same injury, Lampard believes he could be fit to play Wolverhampton Wanderers on September 14, three days before his side start their Champions League campaign at home to Valencia.
“N’Golo Kante is not fit due to the continuation of his ankle problem and he won’t be travelling with the France squad either,” Lampard said on Friday.
“I had a conversation with Didier Deschamps and we both agreed it’s the best thing for him. Let’s try and get him fit over the break.
“My focus is then to make sure he’s OK. He’s had four years of constant football at an incredibly high energy and output level.
“We have to get that right. It’s the right thing to do, we have a strong squad and the performance last week was very good.”
Tammy Abraham scored twice as Chelsea secured their first win under Lampard in a 3-2 thriller at Norwich last weekend, but it is Mason Mount who has caught England boss Gareth Southgate’s attention.
Mount, who also scored at Carrow Road and was with Lampard at Derby County last season, is one of four uncapped players included in Southgate’s squad for the qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo, and Lampard said the 20-year-old has the maturity to take an international call-up in his stride.
“Everyone has to keep their feet on the ground to a degree, him first and foremost. I think he will as it’s only the start for him in terms of his Chelsea career,” Lampard said.
“But I’m confident he will take the responsibility that comes with it and keep working, because that is what is important now.”