James at risk of developing ‘sick note’ reputation as pundit claims Chelsea could ‘replace him’

Ben Stewart
Reece James of Chelsea looks on during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge, London on Saturday 18th March 2023.

Chelsea defender Reece James was forced to withdraw from England’s squad against Ukraine and Stan Collymore is worried about the reputation he is developing.

Since breaking through for Chelsea in 2019-20, James has been hit with a series of different injuries.

The Chelsea defender missed the World Cup due to a knee injury and he has only played 941 minutes of Premier League football this season.

Collymore is considered that his injury-prone status could hamper his career with Chelsea and England.

“I’m not saying he is, but in football, you soon get a reputation for being a sick note so this latest injury setback for Reece James is a big worry,” Collymore told Caught Offside.

“He’s quite a well-built and muscular lad. I don’t know if he does much strength training in the gym but being so well developed means that your muscles and joints and tendons can go quite quickly, especially as a footballer that puts that much force on certain parts of the body.”

There’s no doubt that when James is full fit, he is one of the best full-backs in Europe. However, Chelsea haven’t been able to rely on his fitness lately.

Collymore thinks that James could be at risk of losing his spot for club and country if he doesn’t leave these injuries behind.

“It is a big worry for him because he doesn’t have time to waste. England will move on from him if he can’t get and stay in top condition and I think Chelsea would as well.

“I know he’s very well-liked at the club and the fans adore him, but with 33-year-old Cesar Azpilicueta as their only other natural right back, the Blues can’t afford to wait on James’ endless injuries.

“I’m sure Todd Boehly would go out and look for another right back to replace him if he can’t get back to being fully fit and staying there over the next six to 12 months.”

In the absence of James, Cesar Azpilicueta has often filled in at right-back for Chelsea and England have a plethora of options in that role.

James has received a total of 15 caps for England, although he has the likes of Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold to compete with.

READ MORE: The famous F365 Euro 2024 England ladder: Record-breaking Kane back on top, Saka climbs