Robert Pires believes that N’Golo Kante has been struggling at Chelsea in recent weeks because he is burning out.
The French midfielder has been a regular fixture in the first team at Stamford Bridge since his move to the club from Leicester City last summer.
Kante played a key role in helping Chelsea to win the Premier League title last season as the Blues triumphed in Antonio Conte’s first campaign at the club.
However, he suffered an injury while on international duty with France back in September and currently remains sidelined ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Bournemouth on Saturday evening.
Conte said on Friday that he is hopeful that Kante could be back available for selection again when the Blues take on Roma in the Champions League next week.
And former Arsenal star Pires reckons that Kante could do with an extended break after his regular run in the first teams at Chelsea and Leicester in recent seasons.
Speaking to bwin, Pires said: “He’s so important for the balance of Chelsea’s team.
“I think the main reason he’s struggled is that he’s burning out – he’s perhaps a bit too tired.
“Don’t forget he’s pretty much played every game for about three seasons now – that’s a lot of minutes.”
Chelsea head into their clash with Bournemouth on Saturday in fourth place in the Premier League table and nine points behind leaders Manchester City after nine games of the new campaign.