The 31-year-old midfielder sustained an injury to his hamstring early in the season and the recovery has not been progressing smoothly. Last week, news broke about the possibility of Kante missing the global showpiece and after the surgery, it has been confirmed.
The former Leicester City man who played a pivotal role in France’s victorious outing in what was his first World Cup appearance in 2018, has been sidelined for four months due to the operation. He is expected back in February 2023 at the earliest.
A statement from the club on their website on the procedure and eventual decision to have Kante sit out the World Cup reads: “The midfielder visited a specialist with the club’s medical department to explore the options for his rehabilitation approach and it was mutually agreed for N’Golo to have surgery to repair the damage.
“Following a successful operation, N’Golo is now expected to be sidelined for four months.”
France will now be without one of their most trusted midfield generals as they attempt to become the first team to defend their World Cup title since Italy (1934 and 1938) and Brazil (1958 and 1962).
Kante is just one of many squad selection problems that Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps is facing, however. Pivotal midfielder Paul Pogba has not played a match this season after sustaining an injury to his knee early into his Juventus return. He has also undergone surgery and is expected back by October 27 at the earliest.
Atlético de Madrid wide midfielder Thomas Lemar was also recently taken off due to picking up a knock in a LaLiga game. Los Rojiblancos eventually released a statement claiming it was muscular discomfort and that more tests will reveal the extent of the issue.
Kante has only played two Premier League games this season, racking up only 175 minutes of action. France, who will face Denmark, Australia and Tunisia, will have to count on youngsters Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga over the Chelsea midfielder’s experience in Qatar.
Big blow for Chelsea and France
This latest update will now come as a major blow to Graham Potter, who has now seemingly steadied the ship at Chelsea. It is an even bigger blow for France, who will equally be without one of their most influential players, especially in the heart of midfield.
It also continues the injury woes for Kante, who has barely seen any action over the past few months. In the current campaign, he has managed only 175 minutes of action for Chelsea and he is now set to be out of action long-term as well.
Kante’s contract expires in 2023 and it remains to be seen if the Blues will be eager to offer him a new deal, given his recent injury struggles.