Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is hopeful that midfielder N’Golo Kante will return to full training with his teammates this week following an extended absence with a knee problem.
The France international has played no part for the Blues during pre-season, and he was recently sent back from the pre-season tour of Japan in order to continue his rehabilitation at the club’s Cobham base.
Speaking in a press conference, Lampard has now revealed that he is optimistic regarding the return of Kante to full training, considering there have been good signs over his progress without physical contact.
“Yeah, I am hopeful [Kante will return to full training this week]. He is training. He has dipped into training with us in the last couple of days. There is a lot more that he needs to do physically, off without us that he can do without any contact which has been good but the signs are good in the last three days that we have been back,” he was quoted as saying by Metro.
Meanwhile, the Blues tactician added that he would not rush Kante to take the playing field against Manchester United for the Premier League opener, given he wants the midfielder to attain peak fitness.
Kante played in a slightly advanced role under former boss Maurizio Sarri last season as Jorginho was the Italian’s preferred choice to feature in the holding midfield spot.
Lampard has recently indicated that he is aware of the midfielder’s best position and it remains to be seen whether the 41-year-old will restore the Frenchman to the familiar defensive role.
Chelsea have won three of their five pre-season matches this summer and their most recent game came against Reading, which they secured a 4-3 triumph at the Madejski Stadium.
The west London giants have two more friendlies against Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Monchengladbach before their new campaign begins with a trip to Old Trafford to face the Red Devils.