Reece James has broken his silence after reports emerged claiming Gareth Southgate had informed him he hadn’t made his 26-man England squad for the 2022 World Cup. The Chelsea defender faced a race for fitness after suffering an injury in October, but Southgate has decided not to risk him in his travelling party.
Southgate will announce his England squad at 2pm on Thursday, but several reports on Wednesday confirmed James’ exclusion. After talks on Tuesday, it was decided that the knee injury the 22-year-old suffered against AC Milan on October 11 wasn’t sufficiently healed.
And now James has taken to social media to react to his World Cup dreams endings, admitting he has been left ‘devastated’ by the news. He suggested that he didn’t agree with Southgate’s decision but wished the Three Lions well ahead of their trip to Qatar later this month.
He wrote: “Devastated. The minute I injured my knee, I knew the turnaround to make the World Cup would be tight, but I always felt it was possible. I’ve worked harder than I ever thought I could to give myself the best chance of going, and I truly believed I could help the team. I appreciate there was a risk on both sides, but it was one I was willing to take. Good luck to the boys. I’ll be back soon. Stay safe and sending love.”
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James’ late withdrawal strikes as a real blow for England, with the Chelsea star in contention to challenge Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker for a starting berth at right-wing-back. His absence could pave the way for Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has faced a nervous wait to learn whether he has made the cut.
Chelsea boss Graham Potter will hope James can now use the World Cup break to accelerate his recovery ahead of the return to club football on December 27. The Blues have plunged into a dire run of form since the defender’s injury and are without a Premier League win in four games, losing their last two.
READ MORE: Reece James learns England World Cup fate after Gareth Southgate call
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