For N’Golo Kante, the weeks and months ahead hold plenty that is familiar as well as aspects that will be new.
The winner of multiple player of the year awards last season has swapped Cobham for China as pre-season continues and that means the regular routine at this time of year of working on fundamental physical fitness and match sharpness. Then the perennial quest at Chelsea to win trophies will commence, and on that front there will be a fresh target for the 26-year-old.
‘We’re looking forward to China and Singapore and preparing very well for the season,’ Kante said as he considered this stage of pre-season.
‘We are just at the beginning. It’s quite hard work, we’re running a lot. We need this for the season. To make sure we start the season at our best.
‘Summer was good,’ he reported. ‘I stayed with my family and my friends, recharged my mind and body, enjoyed different things. I try to forget about football but when I go home people wanted to say “Congratulations”.
‘When I’m with my friends we like to play boules, tennis or Playstation, or just sometimes go to dinner.
‘It was a very good season and I enjoyed it but we are starting a new season and we have to convince again.
‘We are looking to do better and we know at a club like Chelsea a good season means to win titles. So we will try to win some titles. Win, win, win. We will win what we can win. We will fight for everything.’
That everything includes for the first time for Kante the chance to compete in the Champions League.
‘I am looking forward to this competition,’ he confirms. ‘Until now I’ve just been looking at it on TV. I’m happy to have this chance.’
Well before then though comes the second of three games we play against Arsenal in quick succession, with Saturday’s game in Beijing, which is live and free to view online via Chelsea TV following on from the FA Cup final and preceding the Community Shield.
‘The FA Cup final is finished now,’ says Kante. ‘Arsenal played well, better than us and they deserved the victory. We have to take this game [in China] seriously because it will help us prepare well for the Community Shield, the first game of the season.’