N'Golo Kante Finally Returns To Action For Chelsea In A Friendly For The First Time In 7-Months.

N’Golo Kanté is finally back on the pitch for the first time in seven months. He played in a friendly for Chelsea after being injured since August.

The Blues were hoping to use the international break to keep building up Kanté’s fitness, and that quest took a pretty big step forward as he completed an hour (60 minutes) of football in a behind closed doors friendly for Chelsea today against Charlton Athletic at Cobham on Friday. 

Kante who hasn't played a competitive match since August is now on a full return, and with most of his teammates away on international duty, he was granted the opportunity to play in the friendly against a Charlton.

The Chelsea's squad was made up largely of academy players, with Silko Thomas, Malik Mothersille and Dion Rankine all scoring the goals in a 3-0 win.

Kante had injured his hamstring in Chelsea's second game of the season against Tottenham which ended 2-2 at Stamford Bridge, and ultimately required surgery which has kept him out ever since, meaning he is yet to play a minute under current new manager Graham Potter.

After his lengthy spell on the sidelines, which also ruled him out of France's World Cup squad in Qatar, Kante returned to training earlier this month.

He was deemed fit enough and even made the bench of the Matchday squad for the 2-2 draw with Everton last Saturday, although Potter opted against rushing him back into action, as he was an unused substitute.

His absence at the heart of the Blues' midfield has been obvious, which led to the emergency signing of Enzo Fernandez on a British-record £107million fee in January from Benfica, but the 22-year-old Argentine has only managed to strengthen Chelsea's midfield line.

However, Kante's involvement on Friday game, will provide the Chelsea fans with a huge boost ahead of their remaining matches in the 2022-2023 season.  

His current deal with the West London club is due to finish at the end of the season, but there has been talks behind the scenes on a contract extension until 2026.

The contract talks have reportedly been positive through every passing day as it looks increasingly more likely he will remain a Chelsea player beyond the summer.

The 31-year-old regarded as among the leading midfielders in the world when fit, was not short of supporters on the touchline for his return to action, with team-mates Mason Mount and Thiago Silva in attendance on Friday.

The England international wore a shirt with Kante's name and No 7 on in support of his Chelsea team-mate after a difficult months.

Chelsea are back in action on April 1 in the Premier League against Unai Emery's resurgent Aston Villa team, although it remains to be seen whether that game will come too soon for Kante to start.

Nevertheless, he could see plenty of minutes in the weeks that follow, with the Blues facing Liverpool, Wolves, Real Madrid and Brighton all in April.

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