Reece James has been ruled out for eight weeks due to a knee injury, leaving the Chelsea and England winger’s World Cup ambitions hanging by a thread.
James was taken off during Chelsea’s 2-0 win against Milan at San Siro last Tuesday, and early indications were that he had not sustained significant injury. However, following more testing on Thursday, the 22-year-old received grim news and is anticipated to be gone for an extended amount of time.
What injury did James suffered during the UCL clash against Milan?
Reece James visited a physician on Saturday, and the decision was made not to undergo surgery. However, the right-sided player, who has been in excellent form for both club and country this season, seems very unlikely to travel to Qatar. England’s first group game is against Iran on November 21.
The fact that James lingered in Milan for an extra day before flying back to England on an easyJet aircraft on Wednesday night implies that he was initially unconcerned about the injury. He paid for more space, and it is believed that choosing a low-cost aircraft caused no further harm.
Will Reece James be out for the World Cup?
However, James is still facing the potential of missing the World Cup. Losing him would be a huge blow for Gareth Southgate, who already has a selection dilemma on the right side of his defence.
Kyle Walker of Manchester City, who can play at right centre-back and right back, is a significant concern following groyne surgery, and Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool has an ankle injury. As things stand, Kieran Trippier will start on the right against Iran.
The hope for Reece is that he will be able to demonstrate his fitness in time for the knockout stage. Southgate has more leeway with injuries with a 26-man squad. Despite missing England’s first two games due to injury, Southgate sent Harry Maguire to Euro 2020.
Chelsea will be without James on Sunday when they play Aston Villa. N’Golo Kanté and Wesley Fofana have both been injured for Graham Potter’s side. A hamstring injury is expected to keep Kante out for the remainder of the season, ruling him out of the World Cup.