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Chelsea star Kante pulls out of France squad with knee injury

The Blues star managed to go the distance in the Europa League final but will not be able to participate in his nation’s Europa League qualifiers

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Chelsea star N’Golo Kante has been removed from the France national team as the result of a knee injury, the French Football Federation have announced.

Kante picked up the knee injury in training for Chelsea ahead of the Blues’ Europa League final clash with Arsenal.

That injury threatened the midfielder’s chances of playing in the Europa League showcase, but Kante managed to suit up and go the full 90 minutes in the 4-1 victory over the Gunners on May 29.

The performance would have seemed to herald Kante’s fitness and he joined France’s squad for European Championship qualifiers against Turkey and Andorra on June 8 and 11.

However, Kante played no part in France’s 2-0 friendly win over Bolivia on June 2 and has since been evaluated by the squad’s medical team.

The decision has been reached Kante will take no part in either qualifier, with the midfielder leaving the team Thursday evening.

A statement from the FFF read: “After meeting with the medical staff following the evolution of his right knee injury, coach Didier Deschamps decided to release the international midfielder from Chelsea FC before leaving for Konya, Turkey, scheduled for Friday morning.”

France also stated a replacement for Kante will not be called in.

Kante was honoured this week as he and his France team-mates received the country’s highest civilian award, the Legion of Honour, for winning the 2018 World Cup.

The Chelsea midfielder enjoyed another strong season at Stamford Bridge, despite controversially being used further up the field by Maurizio Sarri.

Kante managed a new goals high for himself with Chelsea, scoring four times with the Blues this term, while his four assists matched his high set with Leicester City during their shock title-winning season in 2015-16.

Without Kante, France travel to Turkey and Andorra looking to build on their positive start to Euro 2020 qualification, which began in March with victories over Moldova and Iceland.

Les Blues are expected to have Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe available for the contests despite the forward being substituted with a knock against Bolivia.

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