Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has hit out at France boss Didier Deschamps for his handling of midfielder N’Golo Kante over the recent international break.
Kante has been suffering with injury problems this season, causing him to miss six of Chelsea’s 12 games so far across all competitions.
Why is Lampard unhappy with France? Five things to know…
- Chelsea midfielder Kante has missed half of the club’s 12 games this season through injury.
- He did manage to play the full 90 minutes against Southampton prior to the international break.
- Kante was called up to represent France for their Euro 2020 qualifiers, despite Lampard asking for him to miss out again.
- The midfielder picked up another injury while away and will miss Chelsea’s game against Newcastle this weekend.
- Lampard has blasted France for their lack of communication surrounding Kante’s fitness.
The Frenchman had managed 90 minutes in Chelsea’s 4-1 win over Southampton prior to the international break but the club had hoped to keep Kante with them to allow him to fully recover.
However, having missed the previous international break due to injury, Kante was called up by France boss Deschamps for his side’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Iceland and Turkey.
But the midfielder would succumb to another injury issue, missing the win over Iceland altogether before watching France’s draw with Turkey from the bench.
Kante will also miss Chelsea’s game against Newcastle United on Saturday and Lampard has hit out at France for a lack of communication over the midfielder.
Lampard told reporters: “Before the international break, I know Didier Deschamps mentioned in jest a little bit about Olivier Giroud and that was obviously quite light-hearted and I get it, we all have our selection problems and he had his in the two games.
“But the Kante one was not a laughing matter because we communicated before the last international break because he was injured so couldn’t go. Let’s think what benefits the player. He didn’t go, we both agreed on that. That’s how things should work.
“After the first game when he pulled out, he then had a fitness test the day before the second game; it was clear that he couldn’t play. He then sat on the bench on the evening of the game, so that’s not communication. It’s not such a laughing matter I suppose.
“And it’s more for Kante himself because he’s not an inexperienced player, he’s been around the block, he’s won World Cups, he’s been fantastic player. I think that probably could have been handled better for sure.
“Our doctors were speaking and there were some times when things weren’t coming back to us when I would expect them to come back – that’s what I mean about communication.”
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Lampard disappointed with Kante’s late return
Kante is not the only Chelsea casualty from the international break, with Andreas Christensen ruled out for at least two weeks with a hamstring injury and Mateo Kovacic a doubt due to a thigh problem.
But while injuries are always a risk, Lampard continued to express his unhappiness with Kante’s late return.
“We got a player back a bit later,” he added.
“I understand when players are on international duty, they are their player as such but it was quite clear he wasn’t fit to play.
“From our point of view we would have wanted him back to work on him but it’s been and gone and as with every international player I will try and have open lines of communication with every manager for both our sakes.
“Kante, for instance, the first squad, nobody would have benefited from him going – me, him or France. We have to think about the long-term and the care of the player as well so that’s some time’s a bit of a grey area.”
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