Reece James latest: Knee brace for a month as Potter defends Milan sightseeing trip

Date published: Monday 17th October 2022 7:30 - News Desk

Chelsea defender Reece James holds his knee

Chelsea boss Graham Potter revealed Reece James will be in a knee brace for a month in a further blow to his World Cup hopes.

The defender is expected to be out for eight weeks after suffering a knee injury in Tuesday’s Champions League win at AC Milan.

It means he will not be fit until after the group stage of the tournament in Qatar, which starts next month, with his prospects of being included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad fading.

“In terms of his involvement in the World Cup, I don’t know, it will depend on how he recovers. He’s in a brace for four weeks so that slows everything down,” said Potter after Sunday’s 2-0 win at Aston Villa.

“He is going to be in a brace and that has implications over what he needs to do to get fit from there.

“He is disappointed, naturally upset because he is injured for us. He misses games for us when he’s in a fantastic moment. I thought his performance in Milan was incredible. He has got himself into a real good moment of form.

“He will give everything, he will fight and try his best to get back as quickly as he can. When he is he will be a top player.

“It wouldn’t be my place to predict what will happen. Our job is to help him in the short term now and get him back.”

But Potter had no issues with how the problem was handled after James spent an extra 24 hours in Milan, something with is thought to have angered the FA.

“The boys had a couple of days free. Especially with the international players, sometimes you need to give them a break when you can and that was the idea,” he said.

“Reece felt some discomfort the following day and came home and we got it assessed as quickly as we could. Nothing has got any worse because of how he acted in those times. Now we have to support him.”

Meanwhile, Potter hailed goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga after his side’s gritty 2-0 win at Aston Villa.

Mason Mount’s double and Kepa’s heroics earned a fifth straight win in all competitions on Sunday.

It cemented Chelsea’s fourth place in the Premier League and they now sit three points clear of Manchester United after their stalemate with Newcastle.

Two sensational Kepa saves to deny Jacob Ramsey and Danny Ings helped Potter remain unbeaten since joining from Brighton last month and the Spain goalkeeper earned the manager’s praise.

“It was a hard-fought game. Aston Villa made us suffer, certainly in the first half. We lost our way a little bit and we needed Kepa to make some fantastic saves,” he said.

“He is contributing to us with clean sheets, how we are trying to play and the environment around the place. Kepa found a fantastic level, he made brilliant saves which kept us in the game.

“We were better in the second half, more stable. It wasn’t easy for us given the amount of games we have played, to come from Milan to here.

“I’m happy for Mason and Kepa in particular, they have managed to help us over the line. Different players will have to step up.

“It’s a collective desire to do the ugly stuff in the game. If we need to suffer we have to suffer.”

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