Reece James 'return date set' after Chelsea full-back suffers AC Milan knee injury scare

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Reece James is expected to miss Chelsea’s Premier League trip to Aston Villa this weekend but the England international right-back is in line to return to action next week after suffering a knee injury scare, according to reports. Gareth Southgate has already been left sweating on the fitness of Kyle Walker ahead of the World Cup in Qatar and there were concerns for James when he went down at the San Siro clutching his knee following an awkward challenge with AC Milan full-back Theo Hernandez.

James tried to play on through the pain barrier but it soon became clear that he would need to leave the field after he was unable to keep up with lively winger Rafael Leao.

He stayed on the bench though to watch the remainder of the contest and was even able to walk around the field at full-time to shake hands with the opposition.

The 22-year-old was then spotted smiling in pictures with Kalidou Koulibaly as the defensive pair celebrated the victory that put Chelsea top of Group E.

According to The Evening Standard, James’ injury is not as bad as feared and he could be set to return to the fray as soon as next week.

READ MORE: Chelsea star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang torn to shreds over leaked Mikel Arteta comments

It’s been a bad time for England right-backs in recent weeks as Southgate’s patience and stress levels were put to the test.

First-choice defender Walker has been forced to undergo surgery on a groin injury sustained in the 6-3 Manchester derby defeat to United at the Etihad Stadium.

Walker is not facing a race against time to be fit for Qatar, although the early indications are that he may not be ready to star the tournament.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was also forced off in Liverpool’s 3-2 defeat at Arsenal last weekend with an ankle problem.

He is expected to miss around two weeks of action with Joe Gomez set for a run of games in his absence at right-back.

It means that currently, Kieran Trippier is Southgate’s only fit and available right-back.

James has been in exceptional form of late having netted in the 3-0 home victory over AC Milan last week before he was later rested for the 3-0 victory over Wolves.

England’s World Cup campaign begins on November 21 when they host Iran in their Group B opener.



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