Antonio Conte: N’Golo Kante ‘ready’ to return from hamstring injury

Chelsea’s and French international N’Golo Kante is one the verge of making his return from a hamstring injury, according to Blues boss Antonio Conte.

The tireless playmaker has missed the past four Blues games with the hamstring injury that he picked up on international duty with France last month.

Speaking after his side’s 2-1 Carabao Cup win over Everton on Wednesday (as quoted by the Metro), the Italian boss was asked when Kante would be expected to play again – and Conte admitted that it would be sooner rather than later.

He said: “He’s progressing well. I am happy, I saw him in a good physical condition.

“We need to keep calm and find the right moment to put him in the team. Now it will be very easy to tell him to play. We must pay attention and to find the best solution for him. He’s ready.”

Kante is not thought to be fit to play in the Premier League clash with Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, but could in contention to start the encounter with title rivals Manchester United a week later.

The 26-year-old had been a virtual ever-present in Chelsea’s starting lineup throughout this season – aside from Carabao Cup – before he sustained a muscle problem during France’s 2018 World Cup qualifying win over Bulgaria on 7th October.

The hamstring led to Kante missing France 2-1 Victory over Belarus three days later, as well as Chelsea’s games against then-Ronaldo Koeman side, Roma, Crystal Palace and Watford.

Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas gave been Conte’s first-choice centre midfield partnership in Kante’s absence, while youngster Natah Ampadu did himself no harm with another decent outing against Everton in the Cup on Wednesday.

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Donald Stephen is a freelance football writer who knows only slightly less about football than you do. A regular contributor to Football Weeks, the Set Pieces, and others. You can connect with us on – Facebook and Twitter