Ray Wilkins has warned that Chelsea should not select N’Golo Kante against Manchester United unless the midfielder is definitely ready.
The Blues have certainly missed Kante and are hoping he will return from a hamstring injury in Sunday’s game at Stamford Bridge.
But former United and Chelsea star Wilkins, who has also been coach and assistant manager at Chelsea, believes it would be wrong to risk Kante suffering an injury setback.
“The way he plays, he’s all energy and all life, so that (another injury) can happen,” Wilkins said.
“So unless he’s 100% fit, you cannot risk this guy because if it does happen that he tears that hamstring massively that’s two or three months out.
“They’ve got to give him time. If he’s not quite there then don’t play him.”
Kante suffered his injury while playing for France during a recent international against Bulgaria.
Meanwhile, Wilkins has suggested that Crystal Palace’s on-loan Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has developed slower than Dele Alli largely because of a lack of first-team opportunities.
Both midfielders are 21, but Tottenham’s Alli has significantly more experience and is already established for club and country.
Speaking on Sky Sports News, Wilkins said: “The great thing is that he went from MK Dons and has nearly played 200 league games now – and internationals he has played.
“So this guy, at 21, has already played 200 games. Phenomenal.
“You look at some of the other guys of his age, and I go to our own Loftus-Cheek at Chelsea – I think Loftus-Cheek has immense talent but he hasn’t played at this level and he hasn’t played the amount of games that this guy (Alli) has played.
“I think he has similar qualities – he can score goals. But Dele Alli went to MK Dons and played and I think it’s vitally important that you get the game time under your belt.”