If Chelsea are to challenge the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City this season then N’Golo Kante being redeployed in his natural position is a must.
The odds are stacked against Chelsea winning the title – check out betting apps 2019 for more on that – but if Kante can return to his brilliant best then their chances will surely increase.
And his brilliant best is as one of the finest defensive midfielders around, not the kind of swashbuckling attacking midfielder former manager Maurizio Sarri tried to turn him into.
Sarri’s successor Frank Lampard will surely use Kante in his natural role, Chelsea fans can be assured of that.
The immediate concern is over Kante’s fitness. A knee injury he picked up towards the end of last season has flared up again, leading him to return to London from Chelsea’s pre-season training camp in Japan.
Lampard, though, is optimistic that the Frenchman will be available for the start of the new season.
“I sent him home a few days ago. Even though I said how good the trip has been for someone who is in their rehab, I think it has been more beneficial for him to be at Cobham with the facilities we have there,” Lampard said.
“It’s not a big backwards step that has been taken. He’s improving and hopefully by the time we get back and start training towards the weekend he will be in a position to pretty much join in with us.
“I don’t like to get ahead of myself because he has not fully trained yet but the doctors are telling me [Kante should be OK].
“It wasn’t being conservative with him, it was more to have him do the best possible work.
“I am hopeful he will be ready for the start of the season and maybe it’s a [good] break for a player who has played so many games over the past few years at such a level in terms of output and energy.”
Those comments will encourage Chelsea fans, whose side will begin the new campaign with an away trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford.