N'Golo Kante leaves France squad due to knee issue

N'Golo Kante has withdrawn from the France squad for their final Nations League match of the June international window as a result of a knee problem.

The Chelsea star's campaign was disrupted by a series of niggling injuries as he made just 26 appearances in the Premier League, and his fitness problems will now continue into pre-season.

Having played in Les Bleus' Nations League opener against Denmark, Kante hasn't featured in Didier Deschamps' two subsequent matchday squads and he has now pulled pulled out of the camp altogether ahead of their clash with Croatia on Monday night.

A statement from French national team read: "Bothered by knee pain, N'Golo Kante left the group this Saturday morning. The Chelsea midfielder would not have been able to play Monday against Croatia at the Stade de France.

"Defender Lucas Hernandez must also leave the group in the evening to join his partner who is waiting for a happy event. 

"Twenty-two players are therefore now available to the national coach, Didier Deschamps."

Kante missed a number of games for Chelsea with a similar knee issue during the festive period, ultimately managing just 2,713 minutes in all competitions.

Speaking about the midfielder's injury problems back in May, Blues head coach Thomas Tuchel said: "I think he is our key, key, key player, but key, key, key players need to be on the pitch and he plays only 40 per cent of the games.

"It’s maybe a miracle that we arrive in third place [in the Premier League], because he is our Mo Salah. He is our [Virgil] van Dijk. He is our [Kevin] De Bruyne. He is simply that player. He is our Neymar, he is our Kylian Mbappe.

“He is our guy who makes the difference. If you only have him 40 per cent of the time, it’s a huge problem. Given that percentage, it’s maybe a miracle how consistently we produce results.

"It puts everything in perspective, because I saw Liverpool last season without Van Dijk and they struggled heavily. You see the difference. N’Golo is our key player and he needs to be on the pitch."

Source : 90min