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Reece James refuses to give up on World Cup dream as Chelsea star offers major injury update

Reece James has proved to be a crucial player for both Chelsea and England over the past few years but he remains a doubt for the World Cup

Chelsea defender Reece James is refusing to give up hope of playing a part at the World Cup in Qatar next month with England following a serious knee injury.

James is currently on crutches with his leg in a brace after the England international sustained a knee injury in the 2-0 win against AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League earlier this month. The 22-year-old has been influential for the Blues so far this season, registering four goal contributions in his 11 appearances.

Early indications suggested that James’ injury was not serious but further scans revealed the extent of the injury was worse than initially hoped, understands. The Three Lions’ star did not need to undergo surgery meaning his recovery time could see him return for the World Cup.

James is continuing his recovery and rehab, with the 22-year-old hoping to start running again, starting off in a swimming pool, in the next few days. In an interview with The Sun, James said: “I need to keep working hard over the next few weeks and see where I am on call-up day.

“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. 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.

“It is going to be very tough. It is an injury which could take a long time and it came at an awkward period but I am trying my best and hopefully it is possible and if it is not, I know I tried everything.”

James is reluctant to risk any shortcuts in his rehab despite his desperation to make Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup. The Chelsea defender continued: “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 and get fit as soon as possible.

“You are more gutted in the early stages of the injury and then you have to get your head around it. I don’t know when I will be able to run again. I ask that question every day but the medical team do not give many answers.

“You don’t go from walking to running. That is a difficult thing about injuries — you have to do it in stages, so I have to start running in the pool first. Hopefully, this will be in the coming days.

“Each day, I come in and get assessed and then I go on electric machines and receive therapy. I go to the gym and the pool. After that, more treatment.”

James has admitted that he initially ‘felt fine’ after this challenge with Theo Hernandez which caused the injury and has revealed how he has kept in contact with Southgate and his England teammates who are also recovering from injury ahead of the World Cup. The 22-year-old added: “It was just one challenge.

“The ball was mid-air, I tried to stud it down but my foot got caught and I got barged to the side and my leg went out. I felt like I could have carried on but we were 2-0 up and they were down to ten men so I thought it was best to stop.


“It felt fine. We did tests and it seemed like I tweaked it and only when I came back I realised it was not too good. It was a big blow. Especially when you don’t think it is bad and then get told it is quite bad.

“He [Southgate] asked me how I was, how bad it was but it was not in-depth. I played in the England games and thought I played reasonably well. So to then get injured before the World Cup is not what you want.

“I have not spoken to Kalvin [Phillips] but I spoke to Kyle [Walker] after his surgery. It is tough for all of us. These things happen in football and hopefully the other players in the England squad will stay fit.”

James has been impressed with new boss Graham Potter since he replaced Thomas Tuchel and he is keen to get back on the pitch for his new manager. The England international added: “He has done well and the performances have been good. I have spoken to him a couple of times since the injury but he has not really known what to say.

“He just tells me to keep working hard and to be back as soon as I can for club and country.”


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