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Chelsea’s Reece James sidelined for eight weeks, set to miss World Cup

Chelsea’s Reece James sidelined for eight weeks, set to miss World Cup

Chelsea and England right-back Reece James is expected to miss the 2022 World Cup after being ruled out for eight weeks with a knee injury.

The 22-year-old sustained the problem in the Blues’ 2-0 Champions League victory over AC Milan earlier this week, coming off with 62 minutes on the clock.

Fears were immediately raised over the possibility of James being ruled out of the World Cup, with Gareth Southgate facing a selection dilemma at right-back.

Speaking to the press ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League contest with Aston Villa, Graham Potter claimed that James did not feel “too bad” but he could not put a timeframe on his recovery.

“He’s due to see a specialist over the weekend, so until we get that information there’s not too much else I can add unfortunately,” Potter told reporters. “The rest would be speculation. We will wait and see. We need to check the discomfort and see a specialist.

© Reuters

“Yesterday he felt not too bad, but until you get these things checked you never know. We will wait and see. There’s no point looking into the doomsday scenario yet, we need to check and then go forward.”

In a bitter blow for both club and country, Chelsea have now released a further update on James’s injury, confirming that the defender is set for an eight-week spell on the sidelines.

“Following the knee injury sustained in our away match against AC Milan, Reece has received treatment from the Chelsea medical department and visited a specialist this weekend,” a statement read.

“After consultation between all parties, Reece will now undergo a rehabilitation programme and is expected to be out for eight weeks.”

With England kicking off their bid for World Cup glory on November 21 against Iran in Group B, James – barring a miraculous recovery – will not be representing the Three Lions in Qatar.

England manager Gareth Southgate during the match on March 29, 2022© Reuters

The Chelsea man is still seemingly holding out hope that he will be back for the World Cup, posting on Twitter: “The race against time is on… But we won’t give up.”

James joins fellow right-backs Kyle Walker and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the sidelines, with the former undergoing groin surgery while Alexander-Arnold has an ankle problem.

The Liverpool right-back’s injury is not expected to jeopardize his World Cup hopes, while Walker expects to return to fitness in time for the tournament.

“I’m confident. I’ve been through enough in my career to know my body. I’m well above what they thought I’d be able to do at this point,” Walker told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I just feel I can do this. I am going to have to be patient with it. There will be bumps in the road but hopefully, come the selection, I’m included.”

Newcastle United’s Kieran Trippier represents another one of Southgate’s right-back options as the Three Lions prepare to face off against Iran, the USA and Wales next month.

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