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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

No date set for N’Golo Kante’s return to Chelsea training following compassionate leave

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No timetable has been put in place for N’Golo Kante’s return to Chelsea training following the club’s decision to give their star midfielder compassionate leave.

The France international, who sat out today’s session at Cobham having requested an absence yesterday, retains the full support and understanding of the club and head coach Frank Lampard after deciding against taking part in phase one training because of health concerns.

Kante trained on Tuesday, Chelsea’s first day back following the two-month hiatus, despite holding reservations about his safety and he did not feel entirely comfortable during that session.

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As a result, the 29-year-old was not involved in yesterday and also missed today’s workout. He tested negative for coronavirus at the beginning of the week.

Kante, who lost a brother to a heart problem two years ago and had a health scare of his own when collapsing at training in 2018, may not be expected to return until he feels ready.

A number of black, Asian and minority ethnic players have aired concerns over returning to football during the pandemic because research indicates they are twice as likely to die from coronavirus as white men or women.

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Chelsea and the other 19 Premier League squads are allowed to train in groups of no more than five as part of phase one plans with sessions lasting less than 75 minutes and social distance rules monitored at all times.

They hope phase two can be implemented next week, allowing more focused fitness work as the Premier League continues to aim for a mid-June return despite the concerns of a number of coaches who want a longer period of full-contact training before competitive action.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic are among those who have taken a full part in the small-group sessions at Cobham having recovered from long-term injuries.

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