CHELSEA NEWS

Reece James decisions made as Gareth Southgate makes tough England call amid World Cup

 

Gareth Southgate has decided to leave Reece James out of the England squad ahead of the World Cup later this month, according to reports. The 22-year-old defender was a huge doubt for the international tournament after suffering a knee injury in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over AC Milan last month.

According to the Mirror , the Three Lions boss has told James that he will not be included in the 26- man squad amid fear of aggravating the right- back’s injury. The Cobham graduate was set to be out of action for eight weeks but, after being flown out to Dubai to step up his rehabilitation, he began to recover ahead of schedule.

It’s said that the Blues had been sending the FA frequent reports regarding James’ fitness and knee stability. And, according to The Sun earlier this week, he’s been told he could be fit in three weeks.

In theory, that would see James become available for knockout stages of the World Cup. But, to return to the world stage with little to no match fitness or preparation made an England call-up very unlikely. The Three Lions are set to face Iran on November 21, the United States on November 25 and Wales on November 29.

The Chelsea star remained hopeful in the build-up to the World Cup and refused to rule himself out of being selected by Southgate. James has started in each of England’s previous four UEFA Nations League fixtures, featuring in both a back-five and back-four.

It can be said that the Chelsea star is trusted by Southgate but the England boss isn’t willing to gamble on the defender’s availability. In an interview with The Sun a couple of weeks ago, James said:

“I will try and not rule myself out. It is still slow and in the early stages. “I have been in rehab for two weeks, so I am still taking it day-by-day in. The Chelsea medical staff have not given me a percentage of my chance of being back for the World Cup.

“It is down to how I feel closer to the time and how stable it is… I am trying to be positive. I am not not sure how long this injury will take. I am not in pain. But if I try to speed it up, it might be a bit of a risk. I am trying hard every day to improve and make it right.”

According to The Athletic , James is preparing himself to join Chelsea on their trip to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates next month. It’s said that a friendly will be played and the defender will likely feature in a bid to get minutes under his belt.

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