Chelsea face N’Golo Kante wait despite injury boost amid Graham Potter verdict

Graham Potter is hoping to be able to count on midfielder N’Golo Kante for the first time since he became Chelsea boss when the international break is over.

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Chelsea fans were expecting to see N’Golo for the first time this year against Everton, but all the midfielder had were a few applause whenever he went out to warm-up.

French midfielder Kante hasn’t played since August last year and missed the World Cup and crucial club games due to persistent hamstring injury that has threatened to end his career.

In the last two weeks, Kante has been back training with the first team and his return to action will feel like a brand new signing to Potter who has not had the chance to utilise the 31-year-old former Leicester City man.

It will be interesting to see the kind of form Kante returns with but understand that Potter is determined to manage his minutes and carefully get him ready just in time for the Real Madrid Champions League quarter final game.

Chelsea have had success in massive games when Kante is fit, it was Kante who was Man of the Match, playing alongside Jorginho that sealed their Champions League success against a heavy-favourite Manchester City in Porto a few years back.

The French man was pivotal for Antonio Conte also-pairing at the heart of midfield with Nemanja Matic to help the Blues win their last Premier League title in 2017.

When fully fit and in-from not many players are able to live with him and the prospects of having him playing alongside Enzo Fernadez is something Chelsea fans are desperate to see.

Kante is staying back at Cobham to continue working on his return but most of his teammates have travelled across the world for the first international break of the year- but with season defining games immediately after the break, it will be interesting to see how well Graham Potter and his coaching staff manage the midfielder’s imminent return.

The break also provides Potter the chance to recover other injured players- including goalkeeper Edouard Mendy who hurt his finger in training and has been out for the last three months.

The likes of Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount will all hope to be ready for the final push as well as experienced defender Thiago Silva.