Chelsea star ‘left devastated’ as Southgate ‘cannot gamble’ on him for World Cup; Phillips ‘given hope’

Lewis Oldham
England defender Reece James

Chelsea and England right-back Reece James has reportedly been ‘left devastated’ as he has been told that he will not be going to the World Cup.

Gareth Southgate will announce his 26-man squad for the World Cup on Thursday.

The England boss has a few big decisions to make and this is largely to do with players who are carrying injuries.

Had he been fit, James would have been one of Southgate’s first picks and he would have also been likely to start in Qatar.

But his chances were thrown into doubt last month when he suffered a knee ligament injury in Chelsea’s game against AC Milan.

James is yet to make an appearance since and Blues boss Graham Potter was unable to offer a timeframe on his return when asked about his recovery earlier this week.

“Reece was outside today having a little jog, but there is nothing to report in terms of anything else,” Potter told reporters on Tuesday.

“There is no timeframe [to return]. It is just how he responds. We don’t want to rush anything, and I certainly don’t want to put any timescales on it. That is for him, the doctors, and physios.

“Jorginho has a slight problem with his foot. Apart from that, we pretty much have the same group we’ve had.”

But The Guardian are reporting that James was ‘confident’ about being ‘available for the knockout stages’ if England get out of their group.

But The Three Lions manager Southgate has ‘decided that he cannot gamble on the defender’s fitness’.

Southgate is facing difficulties at full-back as Ben Chilwell is also set to miss the tournament.

But Man City duo Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips have better chances of heading to Qatar.

Last weekend, City boss Pep Guardiola suggested that Phillips is now doing “much better”.

“[Walker and Phillips] feel much better, yesterday Kalvin was the second day that he did a full training session with contact with us and he felt good,” Guardiola said after City’s late 2-1 win against Fulham.

“Against Chelsea, he will be on the bench, whether to play or not I don’t know but he will be on bench. Kalvin is much better.

“I spoke with Kyle and he feels good too but his surgery was later than Kalvin, that’s why I don’t know.”

Phillips has been recovering after he underwent shoulder surgery in September. Walker meanwhile had surgery to repair his groin last month.

The Guardian add that Phillips has been ‘given hope’ as ‘there is growing confidence that Southgate will take a risk’ on him.

The report adds that there is a ‘good chance’ that Walker will also be called up.

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