Chelsea ace N’Golo Kante suffers yet another injury in France warmup vs Iceland
N’Golo Kante was forced to pull out of France’s Euro 2020 qualifier away at Iceland tonight after picking up yet another injury in the warmup.
In a fresh blow for Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, Kante limped out of Les Bleus’ pre-match preparations with a suspected hamstring problem.
He has subsequently been replaced in Didier Deschamps’ starting lineup by Tottenham midfielder Moussa Sissoko, with the reigning European champions needing a victory tonight to move six points clear of third-place Iceland in Group H.
France should have enough quality in their ranks to get the job done without the 28-year-old, but news of his setback will come as a huge disappointment to Lampard.
The Blues boss has only been able to turn to Kante in six of their opening 12 matches amid a number of injury problems so far this season.
It looked like the former Leicester star had fully recovered when he followed up 90 minutes away at Lille in the Champions League last week with another full game against Southampton on Sunday, yet he could now be set for another spell on the sidelines.
The 41-year-old called Deschamps ahead of last month’s international break and asked him not to pick his star midfielder as he continued to recover from injury.
Deschamps revealed Lampard’s request earlier this month, joking that he should return the favour with Chelsea outcast Olivier Giroud: “Lampard asked me not to pick [N’Golo] Kante at the last break.
“Maybe I’ll call him later to tell him it would be nice if you play Olivier Giroud a little bit.”
Since taking the helm at Stamford Bridge, Lampard has not tired of pointing out exactly how crucial Kante is to his Chelsea midfield.
After their penalty shootout defeat by Liverpool in the Super Cup, Lampard said: “Kante is an amazing player, amazing character. He’s a machine on the football field.
“He hasn’t trained much, had a swollen ankle two days ago, but he was desperate to play and you saw what he gave to the team today.
“He will be hugely important. I am delighted to work with him.”
Kante’s new injury means he is highly unlikely to play in France’s next qualifier against Turkey on Monday, with Chelsea set to face Newcastle in the Premier League five days later.