N'Golo Kante back in Chelsea training despite coronavirus concerns
Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante has made a return to full contact training on Tuesday ahead of the Premier League restart next week.
Kante had been training individually at Chelsea's Cobham training ground after he expressed concerns over his safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and was initially granted compassionate leave to miss the squad's return to training.
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However, the 29-year-old was reintegrated with Frank Lampard's first-team squad, and the World Cup winner will be expected to play a pivotal role in the closing stages of the campaign.
"Kante joined in as the team indulged in a series of different skill activities using various props," Chelsea said in a statement.
"The midfielder looked sharp as he took part in a series of rondos before finding the net with a smartly placed shot in the practice game."
The 29-year-old has regularly attended the club's Cobham training base but only to follow an individual programme rather than joining in group sessions, despite the Premier League voting to return to contact training last month after agreeing a detailed protocol with medical advisors and the government.
Kante lost a brother to a heart attack shortly before the 2018 World Cup and suffered a health scare of his own two years ago when collapsing during training.
He is concerned about the risk of infection to other family members. Chelsea remain wholly supportive of Kante's stance and did not put him under any pressure whatsoever to return to group training.
Chelsea will restart their Premier League campaign against Aston Villa on June 21.
With nine games remaining, Lampard's side sit fourth in the standings, three points clear of Manchester United, as they chase Champions League qualification.
Information from Reuters was used in this story.