Chelsea manager Frank Lampard insists that midfielder N'Golo Kanté still needs to be show "a little bit of TLC" before he's ready to return to the first-team at Stamford Bridge.
The 28-year-old has been struggling with injuries throughout the first few weeks of the season and was even forced to miss their recent 3-2 win over Norwich, having only started their draw to Leicester in the Premier League.
Kanté will now be given three weeks to continue his recovery after being left out of France's squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers, something which Lampard believes has come as a much-needed break for the midfielder after an overworked four-year spell in England.
"I think we're in a phase," Lampard said, quoted by The Daily Mail. "When I say about the four years, that's just testament to how brilliant he's been at this level. I remember it as a player myself.
"Sometimes it all comes on top and you get a couple of niggles, so you just have to clear the decks and get them right. I'm not worried at all about any of the long-term effects. It's more can we show him a little bit of TLC?
"He's got a pain in his ankle. It's not a huge injury but can we get that right and then start afresh?
"He missed pre-season but the international break falls at the right time for him. I don't expect any issues unless there is something I don't know coming up."
Lampard stressed Kanté has a major part to play in his plans at Stamford Bridge, adding that his absence during the opening few weeks of the season will act as a way of getting him back to his best after the international break.
Since arriving in England in 2015, Kanté has made an average of 55.75 appearances each season for club and country, including his vital roles in France's journey to the final of Euro 2016 and to being crowned champions at last year's World Cup.