File photo of Reece James© AFP
Chelsea and England defender Reece James will miss the World Cup in Qatar after the Premier League club confirmed on Saturday that he will be sidelined for eight weeks with a knee injury. James, who has established himself as Gareth Southgate’s first-choice right-back at international level, limped off during Chelsea’s 2-0 Champions League win over AC Milan on Tuesday.
“Following a knee injury sustained during the away game against AC Milan, Reece has been treated by the Chelsea medical department and visited a specialist this weekend,” the Blues said in a statement.
“Following consultation between all parties, Reece will now undergo a rehabilitation program and is expected to be out for eight weeks.”
England begin their World Cup campaign in less than five weeks against Iran on November 21.
James will also miss Chelsea’s next nine matches before the World Cup is suspended.
The news is a huge blow to England’s World Cup hopes with Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker are also facing a race against time to get fit enough for Qatar after groin surgery.
James and Walker’s versatility when playing to the right of a right-back or full-back has allowed Southgate the ability to switch between formations.
But the England manager predicts he will lose players before the World Cup due to the club’s tight schedule.
Southgate said last week: “What I see is a really packed schedule with a lot of players playing a lot of minutes.
“I think the reality is we’re going to lose more. It’s very stressful, and the players are playing a lot.”
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