Chelsea confirm Reece James will miss England’s World Cup campaign in Qatar after suffering knee injury

Chelsea right-back Reece James will miss England’s World Cup campaign after suffering a knee injury in the Blues’ midweek Champions League win over AC Milan.

James, capped 15 times since making his England debut in 2020, has been a key part of England boss Gareth Southgate’s team over that period. His absence in Qatar puts further strain on a system already undermined by the injuries of Kyle Walker and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

According to the Telegraph, James is hoping to avoid surgery on the injury, but Chelsea confirm that he will miss around eight weeks while he recovers.

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James tweeted after the news was announced, suggesting that he hasn’t yet given up on his World Cup dreams.

Chelsea seemingly confirmed this report in their statement, saying “Reece will now undergo a rehabilitation programme and is expected to be out for eight weeks.”

The possibility of taking an unfit James as part of England’s squad, with an eye on the latter stages of the tournament, had been mooted but Chelsea’s announcement on Saturday evening seemingly rules out even that option.

Chelsea boss Graham Potter had been optimistic ahead of the weekend. He told the press: “It would just be speculation from my side so we’ll wait and see. He felt not too bad yesterday but until you get these things checked you never know.”

James joins N’golo Kante and Wesley Fofana on Chelsea’s injury list.

England’s World Cup squad is set to be confirmed in four weeks, and it now seems virtually certain that James will not be included.

Walker and Alexander-Arnold face a race against time to be fit in time for Qatar.

Should all three be ruled out, Southgate may be compelled to rethink a system he has preferred for much of his largely successful tenure as England manager.

England kick off their World Cup campaign on November 21 against Iran before facing the United States and Wales to round out the group stage.

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