N'Golo Kante is set to miss this winter's World Cup in Qatar.
The 31-year-old France international, who is often one of the first names on Didier Deschamps' team sheet, has been ruled out for around three months after picking up a fresh setback in Chelsea training, according to The Athletic.
After returning to action last week following a hamstring injury, it looked promising for Kante.
But Chelsea boss Graham Potter has confirmed it is "not good news" for the Frenchman, who will see a consultant this weekend about the severity of the injury.
“He’s due to see a consultant at the weekend," Potter said on Friday. "It’s a setback, it’s not good news, but I can’t give you anything more at this stage.
“Historically there are things which have happened which is a concern, so we need to get to the bottom of that.
“It’s a setback at this stage of this rehab which is worrying, but all we can do is get the right diagnosis, get the right consultation, and try and help him get back to full fitness and enjoying his football.”
France manager Didier Deschamps will be devastated by the news surrounding Kante's availability.
Last year, he named Kante as the first name on his team sheet after he played a key role in both their World Cup-winning campaign in 2018 and last summer's European Championship.
“The midfielder works in the shadows," Deschamps told El Pais in June 2021. "He is not given media attention because he is not 'decisive'. From time to time, lights get shone on them. That is the case for Kante now.
"He is above all the first player that his team-mates pick for their teams in training. And he is the first name that a coach, a national team manager, notes down when he is deciding his starting XI.”
In addition to The Athletic's report on Kante's injury, French publication L'Equipe also confirm Kante will not take part in this winter's World Cup.
Deschamps will announce his official squad list for the tournament on November 9.
Les Bleus will come up against Australia in their World Cup opener on November 22 before facing Denmark and Tunisia in Group D.
Do you think France can defend their title without N'Golo Kante?
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