N’Golo Kante out of Chelsea FC’s Champions League tie with Juventus due to Covid

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 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

N’Golo Kante has been ruled out of Chelsea’s Champions League tie with Juventus on Wednesday after testing positive for Covid-19.

The France international is now self-isolating after Thomas Tuchel confirmed he is the latest member of his squad to be struck down by coronavirus this season.

But Chelsea’s manager refused to join the Government’s appeal for footballers to be vaccinated — insisting it was not his place to weigh in on the controversial subject.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic have already been forced out of action after contracting the virus this season. News that Kante is the latest will only increase calls for footballers to set an example by ensuring they are fully vaccinated.

Tuchel could not confirm how many of his players have been vaccinated, but revealed he, personally, has.

However, he is adamant that he cannot pressure players to join him.

He said: “It would be easy to say yes now and get applause from a lot of people. At the same time, do I have the right to say it? I am not so sure.

“I made the decision to get it myself and everybody else seems to reflect about it and take a risk or not. It is a serious question and vaccination seems to be a proper protection.

“I am vaccinated and took the decision myself, but I don’t see myself to seek out the proper recommendations. I think that’s too far for a football coach. I am a football coach so I am not a 100 percent expert on this. Everyone here is in a free country and society so they can take their choices.”

Tuchel added: “I don’t know the percentage (of players vaccinated). It isn’t that I don’t want to tell you, but I simply don’t know it.

“We also, as a reflection of society, the players are adults and have a choice whether they get vaccinated or not. We should accept it and this is more or less what I should say.

“The situation is far from over and every time someone gets it from us in our group, we are aware that it is not over and, yes, I hope that it gets less as possible. I clearly don’t have the solution.”

England manager Gareth Southgate revealed he suffered a backlash when urging people to get vaccinated. Tuchel insists he is not fearful of the same - but does not feel qualified to advise.

“I am absolutely not afraid of having bad reactions,” he said. “If I am convinced about something I will speak out publicly, but I’m a football coach. I have a lot to do and I am a father in my family so I have enough to do.

“I am not fully involved. I am not fully aware of what vaccination is deeply all about. I took the decision to have it myself. But am I in a position to give recommendations publicly? No I am not.

“If somebody is convinced then we have to accept other opinions and harsh reactions. I would not be shy to accept it and argue with them or try to convince them, but I don’t feel that I am in this position and I’m the right person for this.

“Everybody needs to take the decision. There are recommendations from politicians, from doctors and that is who it belongs to.”

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