Frank Lampard has ruled N’Golo Kante, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger out of our Premier League clash with Newcastle United this weekend.
The boss confirmed in his weekly pre-match press conference at Cobham that Kante had suffered a groin injury away on international duty with France, while Christensen would be out for a fortnight with a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, there was more positive news in the comeback of Rudiger, who has returned to outdoor training in recent days.
‘No, N’Golo is not fit,’ said Lampard when asked about his injury list. ‘He had a small groin issue in the warm-up to the first international game for France, we didn’t get him back until after the second game and he’s not fit for Saturday.’
Lampard expressed some frustration at the breakdown in communication with the French national team over the midfielder’s latest setback, insisting he could have returned to Cobham sooner to receive treatment.
‘Before the international break, I know Didier Deschamps mentioned in jest a little bit about Oli Giroud, which was quite light-hearted and I get it because we all have our selection problems,’ continued Lampard.
‘However, the Kante one was not a laughing matter for us. We communicated before the last international break [in September] because he was injured - he couldn’t go away so we thought about what would benefit the player and we all agreed on that, which is how things should work.
‘After the first game when he pulled out, he then had a fitness test a day before the second game where it was clear that he couldn’t play but he then sat on the bench in the evening of the game so that’s not communication. It’s more for Kante himself because he’s not an inexperienced player, he’s won World Cups and been a fantastic player for them so I think it could have been handled better.
‘Our doctors were speaking with them and there were some times where things weren’t coming back to us as I’d expect them to come back, which is what I mean about communication. I understand when players are on international duty that they are the national team’s player as such but it was quite clear he wasn’t fit to play.’
While Christensen will miss the meeting with the Magpies tomorrow, Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley are both in contention to feature.
‘Kovacic had a knock on his thigh but has trained the last couple of days so he’s in contention and Ross is also fit,’ reported Lampard, ‘but Christensen has a hamstring injury which will see him out for probably the next two weeks.
On Rudiger, our head coach noted positive steps made by the German.
‘Rudiger is training outside with the physios which is a progression for him,’ he said. ‘He had a tough injury with some stop-start aspects to it which has been unfortunate for everybody but he’s outside now, which is positive. There’s a bit of work to be done for him to get match fitness but it’s really positive for us that he’s back outside.’