N’Golo Kanté’s return from leave to training raises hopes at Chelsea | Football

N’Golo Kanté has given Chelsea hope that he could be available when the Premier League season resumes after returning to the club’s training ground to conduct individual sessions.

The France midfielder was granted compassionate leave by Chelsea to stay away from training after expressing fears over the coronavirus last week, raising doubts over whether he would be willing to feature in the season’s remaining nine games. Kanté was given the full support of the Stamford Bridge club’s board and Frank Lampard but it is understood that he has been running and training on his own this week.

While Kanté attended the first day of phase one training last week, he went on to inform Chelsea of his stance and missed the second day of training because of his concerns around safety. That request was met with understanding and Lampard has shown the 29-year-old patience, even though Kanté is one of his most important players.

Lampard has been working to calm Kanté’s fears and that approach has had a positive effect, with Kanté’s stance softening in recent days. However the French World Cup winner is not yet ready to feature in contact training with his teammates. It remains to be seen if he will be available for selection when Chelsea face Aston Villa in their first game back next month.

Kanté’s situation is delicate. The 29-year-old’s elder brother Niama died of a heart attack shortly before the 2018 World Cup and he lost his father when he was 11 years old.

Kanté, a quiet character who is understood to have largely remained indoors with one of his brothers since the suspension of the season, also experienced a health scare when he collapsed in front of his teammates at Chelsea’s training ground two years ago. Tests did not reveal any heart concerns but the former Leicester player missed Chelsea’s next game.

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