Just in : Chelsea and England handed Reece James boost as initial injury diagnosis emerges

Chelsea have been handed a major injury boost after an initial diagnosis of Reece James’ injury sustained in their 2-0 win over AC Milan suggested it was not serious, per reports. The England international was brought off in the first half of their Champions League fixture in Italy after landing awkwardly during a challenge, sparking concern for his manager Graham Potter and England boss Gareth Southgate.

The 22-year-old appeared to suffer a knee injury following a challenge on Milan defender Theo Hernandez and received treatment on the pitch before attempting to soldier on. However, after a few more minutes of the pitch and stretching for another tackle, it became clear he needed to be substituted.

Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta came on to replace James as he made his way down the tunnel for further assessment, with worrying signs that James could face a similar spell on the sidelines to Wesley Fofana, who also recently injured his knee.

But according to The Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg, the initial diagnosis of James’ injury is that it is ‘not serious’, which will come as a major boost for both Potter and Southgate.

James has been in excellent form this season for his club, scoring in the 3-0 win over Milan at Stamford Bridge a week ago, and once again played an instrumental part in his team’s victory at the San Siro.

It was his defence-splitting pass that sent Mason Mount through one-on-one with Ciprian Tatarusanu before Fikayo Tomori pulled back his England team-mate to give away a penalty.

Tomori was also then shown a red card by referee Daniel Siebert, sparking a furious reaction on the Milan bench before Jorginho dispatched the penalty. And with an extra man advantage, the Blues dominated proceedings with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealing the points with an incisive finish.

With the World Cup due to kick off in less than six weeks’ time, there are still doubts over whether the 22-year-old will be fit enough to take his place in the Three Lions squad.

Gareth Southgate has named James in his starting line-up for England’s last four matches and appears to rate the Chelsea star as his preferred choice at wing-back over Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier.

The England manager will be desperate to have him in his preliminary squad when he announces it next Thursday but that may require some proof from James that he will be able to recover in time for the tournament in Qatar.

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