Chelsea right-back Reece James reportedly may have to have surgery on his knee after sustaining an injury against AC Milan earlier this week in the Champions League. If it is decided that the academy graduate needs treatment then his place in England’s World Cup squad will become ‘under threat’.
According to Football.London, Chelsea were not fearful about James’ injury and early indications suggested that he had not sustained any serious damage. However, the defender underwent further scans on Thursday which showed that the 22-year-old’s injury is ‘worse than initially feared’.
James has been one of the most impressive players for the Blues since the appointment of Graham Potter, with his versatility and desire to be a presence on both ends of the pitch giving the former Brighton boss plenty of flexibility. But suggestions that the right-back may need surgery will mean that he could spend an extended spell on the sidelines.
A decision is expected to be made on whether James will need surgery over the weekend, with any sort of treatment putting his place in Southgate’s Three Lions squad in major jeopardy. The defender looks destined to have a major role to play in Qatar, especially with Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold struggling for form and Kyle Walker also an injury doubt.
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James sustained his injury whilst trying to tackle AC Milan left-back Theo Hernandez, requiring medical attention instantly. The defender attempted to continue though it soon became clear that the impact of the challenge had taken its toll as he fell to the ground once more and was replaced by captain Cesar Azpilicueta.
But the 15-time capped England international did not rush back to England following his side’s 2-0 victory over Milan on Tuesday night, instead spending the following day exploring the Italian city. Though since returning to Cobham, the true extent of the blow has become clear.
Speaking earlier this month about James, Potter said that the fullback has potential that could see him become a legend at Stamford Bridge. He explained: “He’ll get better and better as we go. I’ve really enjoyed working with him, he’s got a lot to offer, he’s fantastic. He could play any game in the world, he’s tremendous.
“My job is to help him reach his potential because his potential is beyond the sky. We love him. He’s so important for us. My job is to help him reach his potential, and his potential is he can be a Chelsea legend. That is the level he has, the potential that he has. For that to happen, he has to be part of a successful team. That’s what we’re working towards.”