League of Nations – Team France: N’Golo Kante, frequent absentee with the Blues

Not everything in Team France has been cleared yet, but only one person is seriously starting to miss: N’Golo Kanté. The midfielder left the trio on Saturday morning due to knee pain, and will lose on Monday to Croatia (8:45 pm), which has become an annoying habit for the Blues midfielder in recent years.

Since the coronation in 2018, the Chelsea player has missed 24 out of a possible 46 matches (52%), and Deschamps has only been able to count on him in three matches since the last Euro. A player who has missed more matches than he has played in four years is a problem. For Kanté indeed, who is unstoppable, and for the French team that needs their midfield activity.

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Injuries, Covid and fatigue…

There are several explanations for the accumulation of absences. And the injuries that have already accumulated on the former Leicester that prevent him from continuing. It’s the knee this time. But it was the ankle, thigh before. Then the Corona virus, which Kanté had twice, and which deprived him of the fourth final of the Nations League in the fall – a competition that does not have permission in his record – and which seriously affected his form, in his selection as in the club.

N’Golo Kante vs Denmark

credit: Getty Images

Because the junior medium has also been missing a lot of dates with the Blues lately, which is an anomaly in his career. Prior to 2019, he had only had three minor injuries, when at the age of 15 the past three years had kept him from playing 50 matches. And even when you’re there, “NG” isn’t always the same. Aside from the latest Euro, a date in which he did not play a role that nonetheless had so much value in 2018, Kante gives the image of a tired 31-year-old player.

There is a logic in it, he is the one who played 42 matches this season, the main quality of which is the series of efforts with a high intensity, within a team that has played five different tournaments this season, with high ambitions in each of them. With the Blues, Kante was on all fronts in 2021-2022: third place in the Premier League, quarter-finals in the Champions League, two times in the National Cup Finals, and a victory in the Club World Cup.

N’Golo Kante suffers injury for Chelsea vs Liverpool, Anfield, August 28, 2021

credit: Getty Images

Kante’s fatigue was already evident against Real Madrid in the Champions League two months ago, in a meeting in which he was knocked out at half-time by Tuchel, and it remains so today. He, like many teammates like Antoine Griezmann, needs rest and holidays more than ever.

“Griezmann should go on vacation… and Nkunko starts on Monday”

Midfielder wondering about Deschamps?

The problem is that the French national team must continue to perform without the midfield dwarf. Didier Deschamps also denied Pogba on a fairly frequent basis, having had no choice but to give a chance to the less experienced players of the winning duo in 2018. Aurélien Tchouameni has totally absorbed her, he has a profile more similar to that of the Manchester United player, tall, hard working and looking forward Extremely.

Others are still somewhat shy. Corentin Tolisso made a choice, but his injuries gradually pushed him away from the blues. Jordan Veritot, who was called up last fall, newcomers Matteo Guendouzi or Boubacar Camara, currently have nothing to play for in major competition in a midfielder’s boots.

Without restoring Kanté’s quality, the idea of ​​maintaining a system with only midfielders is dangerous for Didier Deschamps and the Blues, often overwhelmed by the midfield during their final matches. Whether he is 3, 4 or 5 behind, the French coach has not yet made a decision to return to three midfield players…

“Behind four or five, the Blues have the same problems.”

Watch out for traffic jams for November

Should we worry about N’Golo Kanté? Not necessarily, because talent and physical qualities are always there. We were talking about him in earnest for the Ballon d’Or about a year ago, at the start of the Euros and when he had just been voted as the best player in the Champions League that his club Chelsea won.

N’Golo Kanté, C1 in hands

credit: Getty Images

There’s also a reassuring aspect, which is that it’s not a recurring evil in the same place stopping Kante from responding. We can then imagine it’s just a series of bad passes. In the worst of bad luck, like Covid, and in the better days to come, NG will be back to its best.

In the 4-2-3-1 of the blues, which looks with this month of June to maintain his “DD” merits, his profile and association with Pogba make Kanté untouchable. But beware of traffic jams. With Chuamini’s rapid emergence as coach, and the highly anticipated return of key player Paul Pogba, as well as a younger still seizing his chance as Boubacar Kamara, on a strong Friday in Austria (1-1), Kante should be careful not to compromise his November starting place and a trip to Qatar. . He should still be available to defend her by then…

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