Chelsea star Reece James is ‘confident’ of making England’s World Cup squad with the defender ahead of schedule in his recovery from a knee injury.
The England international sustained a knee injury during the Blues 2-0 win at San Siro against AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League last month. Graham Potter has now lost both James and Ben Chilwell ahead of the World Cup in Qatar later this month after the left-back came off with a hamstring injury against Dinamo Zagreb earlier this week.
Gareth Southgate’s options at right-back have been severely hampered ahead of the tournament in the Gulf with both James and Manchester City star Kyle Walker still recovering from injury. However, Southgate has selected players with fitness issues for major tournaments in the past as shown with Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson at Euro 2020, leaving the Chelsea star with a chance of making the final England squad that will head to Qatar.
James has refused to give up hope on making Southgate’s England squad as he continues his recovery and rehab admitting he is taking it ‘day-by-day’. 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.”
In an effort to speed up his recovery, James has flown to Dubai to continue his rehabilitation alongside a member of the Chelsea medical department, as per the Evening Standard. He is mainly completing recovery sessions in the gym and pool, with Chelsea sending ongoing reports to the FA about his fitness and knee condition.
Southgate is said to have had a brief phone call with the 22-year-old, but has not put any pressure on the defender to force his recovery. James has told friends he is confident he will be on the plane to Qatar after he was due to be in a knee brace for four weeks, but he is slightly ahead of schedule now and is using it less than expected.
The Chelsea star was initially ruled out for eight weeks after he sustained a knee injury against AC Milan almost a month ago, but the English defender is healing quicker than anticipated and is doing everything he can to be fit in time for the World Cup. England begin their World Cup campaign in Qatar against Iran on Monday, November 21, and Southgate is due to name his 26-man squad for Qatar next Thursday.