Kante on the bench for Everton game

N’Golo Kante will be among Chelsea’s substitutes for Thursday’s game against Everton.

The Frenchman, out since limping off during last month’s Champions League thrashing of Juventus, returned to training this week and is back in the Blues squad.

So too is Trevoh Chalobah.

But Chelsea are still without Mateo Kovacic, although his isolation after recently contracting Covid-19 ends later this week.

Ben Chilwell remains sidelined with a knee injury.

Boss Thomas Tuchel explained: “N’Golo will be back on the bench tomorrow. He did the last two training sessions. Chalobah will also be back in the squad.

“Mateo will have been out for seven or eight weeks with his (prior) injury.

“It’s one thing to have N’Golo back on the bench and to get Mateo back at the end of the week. Does this mean that this is really N’Golo and Mateo? I doubt that. It will take a while.

“But it will be a good day if both of them are back.”

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Tuchel insisted he had “absolutely no regret” about Conor Gallagher being loaned to Crystal Palace in light of Chelsea’s recent midfield injury problems.

The German was also asked whether Romelu Lukaku, who has been eased back from an ankle problem, is now fully fit.

He replied: “This we can debate endlessly – what is fit and what is not fit.

“The player will say ‘I’m fit’. Maybe some fitness coaches will agree or disagree and then comes the head coach who agrees or disagrees.

“It depends also on the game and maybe the intensity level of the game.

“We let him play 70-something minutes against Zenit and we had a lot of travelling and lack of sleep and a very intensive opponent in Leeds.

“I think he can play 70-plus (minutes) but it depends on how the game goes.”