Reece James has been told he could be fit to play in three weeks, meaning the Chelsea man’s World Cup dream isn’t completely dead.
The Lowdown: James’ injury
During the Blues’ triumphant Champions League trip to the San Siro against AC Milan in October, James was forced off after 62 minutes with an injury that saw him leave Italy on crutches.
After an anxious wait to reveal the extent of the problem from a specialist, Chelsea confirmed that the Englishman would be out for up to eight weeks with the knee injury, scuppering any chance of a return before or even at the World Cup, but as the tournament looms closer the 15-capped Three Lions international has received a boost to his chances.
The Latest: Touch and go
According to The Sun, the 22-year-old has spoken to specialists, who believe he is capable of a return before the end of November despite what was looking to be quite a serious knee injury.
With England set to begin their campaign in Qatar on November 21, the opening game may come too soon for the Chelsea star but with their final Group B game against Wales to be played on November 29, there could be a window of return for the knockout stages if the Three Lions successfully navigate their group.
The Verdict: Huge risk
It would be a massive concern to Graham Potter if James was to be called up by Gareth Southgate as the defender has already struggled with injuries of late, missing 29 games since the start of the 2021/22 season with various fitness problems.
The 47-year-old has struggled without the £250k-per-week Cobham academy product, who BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand once lauded as “devasting”, when deploying his preferred back three setup, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Christian Pulisic and England teammate Raheem Sterling all shoehorned in on the right-hand side with little success.
In his absence, the Blues have won only two from six league games – with the last four all winless – as Potter’s new manager bounce seems to have hit the rocks, the last thing the Chelsea boss needs is for the right-wing dynamo to rush himself back and aggravate the knee problem further with no suitable alternative at Stamford Bridge to play his right wing-back role.