REECE AGAINST TIME REECE JAMES has been told he could be fit in three weeks – leaving England boss Gareth Southgate with a massive selection dilemma.
Chelsea defender James is recovering from a knee injury and Southgate names a 26-man squad for the World Cup in just 48 hours.
Reece James is a major doubt for the World Cup
Reece James is a major doubt for the World Cup.
The Chelsea defender is still recovering from a knee injury
The Chelsea defender is still recovering from a knee injury.
James, however, is doing everything in his power to make it on the plane to Qatar 2022
James, however, is doing everything in his power to make it on the plane to Qatar 2022.
James is refusing to give up on his dream of joining them in Qatar and has spoken to specialists who believe he could be ready to play by the end of the month.
England face Wales in their third and final Group B game on November 29 and are hopeful of progressing to the first knockout round and beyond.
Fullback James, 22, was in blistering form for Chelsea prior to getting hurt and was Southgate’s first-choice right-back for the tournament.
The England head coach must now decide whether to take a huge gamble and include James in the tour party heading to the desert.
England first play Iran and the USA before the home nations clash against the Welsh.
James would miss those two opening games and still have to work flat out to be ready after that.
The absence of James has caused a massive headache for Southgate and England.
Fellow right-back Kyle Walker of Manchester City has not played since undergoing groin surgery on October 6.
He has been declared fit to go to the tournament but is woefully short of match sharpness.
Liverpool’s out-of-sorts Trent Alexander Arnold and even Arsenal’s converted centre-back Ben White are being considered for the right-back slot.
Taking James would be a big gamble on a player who only recently was on crutches after damaging ligaments playing for Chelsea in a Champions League match at Milan.
But it has happened before. Former England boss Sven Goran Eriksson took crock striker Wayne Rooney to the World Cup in Germany even though he was still on his way back after breaking bones in his foot.
Southgate named Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson in his Euro 2020 squad last summer despite the pair carrying injuries into the tournament.
Reece James hasn’t given up hope of turning out for the Three Lions later this month
Reece James hasn’t given up hope of turning out for the Three Lions later this monthCredit: SIMON JONES
Southgate submits a final squad list to governing body FIFA on Monday, 24 hours before flying out to Qatar.
Despite being forecast to be out until mid-December, James has remained optimistic about his chances of playing in his second major tournament for The Three Lions.
He told SunSport: “I need to keep working hard over the next few weeks and see where I am on call-up day.
“I will try and not rule myself out. It is still slow and in the early stages.
“I have been in rehab for two weeks, so I am still taking it day by day.
“The Chelsea medical staff have not given me a percentage of my chance of being back for the World Cup.
“It is down to how I feel closer to the time and how stable it is.”