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Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante was forced to leave the tour of Japan to continue rehabilitation for an injury connected to the knee problem he sustained at the end of last season.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard had expected the France international to feature in the friendly against Barcelona but had to send the midfielder back to London after he suffered a recurrence of the knee injury he picked up before the Europa League final last season.
“I sent him [to London],” Lampard said while the team was in Japan.
“Even though I said how good the trip has been for someone who is in their rehab, I think it has been more beneficial for him to be at Cobham with the facilities we have there.
“It’s not a big backwards step that has been taken.
“He’s improving and hopefully by the time we get back and start training towards the weekend he will be in a position to pretty much join in with us.”
Frank Lampard conducted his first Cobham training session as Chelsea head coach on Friday after spending the first few weeks of his tenure in Ireland and then Japan.
Kante, who returned early from the tour of Japan to receive treatment on a knee injury, joined the squad for training on Friday and this would be a huge boost for Lampard ahead of the start of the new season.
The players will continue training on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s friendly against Reading.
The game will come too early for Kante but he could in the friendly against RB Salzburg on Wednesday 31 July or against Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday 3 August.