The popular Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has been dropped out of Didier Deschamps’ 23-man France squad to face Croatia in the UEFA Nations League, with the reason for his exclusion being unrevealed.
The fan favourite 31-year-old player last played his 90 minutes against Denmark on Friday as his side faced a defeat by a score of 2-1 in Group A of the competition despite being a goal ahead through Karim Benzema.
As reported by RMC Sport in France, Kante is not part of Deschamps’ side for Monday’s clash against Croatia as the squad list has been sent to UEFA ahead of the match.
The report states that only 23 players out of their 24-man camp can be involved in each match, with Kante being the Frenchman to miss out on this occasion.
Against Denmark, new Aston Villa signing Boubacar Kamara did not make the list of players provided by the French side and this time Kante is the one to be excluded.
The news will come as a welcome boost to Chelsea, with their star having suffered several injuries throughout the season as he played 42 matches across six different competitions.
Deschamps reportedly promised that he would rotate his side from the match against Denmark, with high temperatures expected when they face Croatia in Split.
Kante’s exclusion follows the news that Jorginho and Emerson Palmieri were sent home early from international duty with Italy, handed a further period of rest before they return to Chelsea’s pre-season training in July.
The Blues midfielder will have a busy time ahead off-the-field as Chelsea are reportedly planning to offer the 31-year-old a contract extension this summer.
Kante’s current deal expires in 2023, with Thomas Tuchel hoping to have his future sorted this summer to avoid a repeat of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen’s situations, with the pair departing on free transfers at the expiry of their contracts.
When asked previously about the importance of Kante to Chelsea, Tuchel said: “He is our Mo Salah, he is our (Virgil) van Dijk, he is our (Kevin) De Bruyne. He is simply that player, he is our Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
“I think he is our key, key player but key, key players have to be on the pitch and he only plays 40% of games.”
As Tuchel’s side look to compete for more silverware next season, and eye the opportunity to close the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League, Kante’s experience may prove a valuable asset alongside his qualities in midfield if he can stay fit and enjoy an injury-free season at Stamford Bridge.