The 28-year-old was taken out of the starting line-up at the last minute (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea have been dealt another injury blow during the international break after N’Golo Kante picked up a problem during the warm-up before France’s clash with Iceland.

The 28-year-old had been picked to start in Friday night’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Reykjavik, but was replaced in the line-up by Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Moussa Sissoko at the eleventh hour.

According to French media, Kante suffered a ‘muscle problem’ during the pre-game warm-up and will be assessed further, with the World Cup holders due to play Turkey on Monday.

Kante has been struggling with a series of injury niggles throughout the season, though appeared to be back to full fitness and was simply lacking match sharpness.

‘In terms of the injury, he’s fine,’ said manager Frank Lampard shortly before the international break. ‘It’s just about making sure he’s fit and ready.’

Kante has only played in four of Chelsea’s eight Premier League games this season, though played 90 minutes in recent wins over Lille and Southampton.

The French midfielder is not the first Chelsea player to pick up an injury during the international break, with Reece James forced to withdraw from England’s Under-21 squad.

He is only just returning from a long-term injury, though the problem is not believed to be serious and there is an expectation that he will be back in training with Chelsea next week.

Young defender Reece James also picked up an injury in the international break (Picture: Getty)

Speaking about Kante at the end of September, Lampard explained the need to manage him carefully: ‘My feeling is that he has played a lot and that’s because he has been so successful and so important to the teams he has been in. At the minute, he has injuries.

‘This little niggle he had is a small, small injury. We just need to get it right. We are just careful and it is my duty to work with him. The medical team are working so hard with him.

‘I have been there as a player and, if you miss a pre-season through an injury in particular, then you are playing catch-up. At the moment he is playing catch-up and that’s no fault of his own. He has played four seasons now full-on, game after game with international tournaments. So, it is right to be a bit careful.’





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