Chelsea wing-back Reece James will miss the World Cup after not recovering from injury in time.
The Lowdown: James’ injury
James hasn’t featured for the Blues since picking up the knee injury against AC Milan in October, which initially ruled him out of action for up to eight weeks.
After a month of the outcome seemingly changing by the hour, the light has finally gone out on the 22-year-old’s World Cup hopes.
The Latest: World Cup over
It’s now been confirmed that the 15-time England international won’t be adding to those caps over the winter after Gareth Southgate rang him to deliver the bad news that he wouldn’t be included in the final 26-man squad.
A source close to The Sun said:
“Reece was confident he would be OK by the start of December.
“But Gareth decided he could not take the gamble.
“It is devastating news for Reece because he believed he would be OK.”
This crushing news comes only hours after James was cleared by specialists to return before the end of November, potentially in time for the knockout stages, but the England boss has ultimately decided the risk was too great.
The Verdict: Now focus on recovery
Although the news is heart-breaking for the defender, it does now leave Graham Potter in a position where he should be able to once again call upon a fully fit James.
The £61.5m-rated star has a long career ahead of him and won’t want to risk his long-term fitness, something that his former youth team coach Jody Morris told him: “I messaged Reece James instantly when [the injury] first happened and said, ‘listen, make sure you don’t come back too early just to make yourself fit for the World Cup. You’ve got another 15-16 years ahead of you’.”
It could turn out to be a blessing later down the line for the Londoner whose omission will see him now look after his long-term career, and with him being only 26 years old when the next World Cup comes around the chance will be back for him