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James on crutches two weeks before England announcement as Chelsea star gives update

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Chelsea and England star Reece James is not giving up on playing at the World Cup despite a serious knee problem.

The 22-year-old right-back is a major doubt for Qatar 2022, which begins on November 20, after suffering a knee injury earlier this month.

James faces a race against time

Simon Jones

James faces a race against time

Chelsea expect James’ recovery to take a further six weeks, which would rule him out of England’s World Cup campaign.

However, with manager Gareth Southgate set to name his final squad on November 10, the defender has vowed to try and defy the odds.

James was pictured on crutches, with his knee in a brace, while giving an update on his rehabilitation process.

He told The Sun: “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 star needs a minor miracle

Simon Jones

The Chelsea star needs a minor miracle


“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.”

James, who missed a sizeable chunk of the 2021/22 season due to injury, has arguably been Chelsea’s best player this season.

He is a guaranteed starter for the Three Lions if fit and expects to start running in a pool shortly.

James is Southgate’s first-choice at right-wing-back

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James is Southgate’s first-choice at right-wing-back

James added: “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.

James has refused to give up hope

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James has refused to give up hope

“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.”

The incident occurred during Chelsea’s 2-0 victory against AC Milan on October 11 and James revealed a conversation with Southgate in the immediate aftermath.

He said: “It was just one challenge.

James was in outstanding form before the blow

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James was in outstanding form before the blow

“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.”

Southgate will have a difficult call to make if James shows signs of a speedy recovery

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Southgate will have a difficult call to make if James shows signs of a speedy recovery

The player added: “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.”

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