Chelsea are assessing Reece James after he withdrew from the England squad for Sunday's Euro 2024 qualifier against Ukraine.

James' season has been ravaged by injury, limiting him to only 18 appearances for the Blues in all competitions.

A knee problem caused the right-back to miss the World Cup in Qatar, along with Chelsea team-mate Ben Chilwell.

James made his England return on Thursday, appearing from the bench for the final five minutes of a 2-1 qualifying win at Italy, only to suffer another setback.

"Reece James has withdrawn from the England squad and will not feature against Ukraine on Sunday," an England statement read.

"The full-back has returned to Chelsea for assessment on an ongoing issue.

"No replacements are planned as Gareth Southgate's squad, including the suspended Luke Shaw, continue their preparations at Tottenham Hotspur Training Ground."

England have Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier in their squad, but James' latest injury concern is perhaps a bigger blow to Chelsea.

Graham Potter's side resume their campaign on April 1 against Aston Villa, the first of three Premier League matches before their Champions League tie with Real Madrid.

European glory is Chelsea's only realistic remaining aim this season, sitting 10th in the league with 11 games to play.

Reece James will miss Chelsea's trip to Leicester City on Saturday through illness, but boss Graham Potter is hopeful N'Golo Kante will make his long-awaited return next week.

James has endured a frustrating few months, making just 11 Premier League appearances this season and missing England's World Cup campaign after suffering a knee injury ahead of the tournament.

The wing-back missed last Saturday's 1-0 win over Leeds United with a hamstring issue, though he returned as Chelsea overcame a Champions League last-16 deficit to eliminate Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, easing the pressure on Potter.

The latest setback to befall James will see him sit out Chelsea's trip to the King Power Stadium, while fellow England international Raheem Sterling is also a doubt.

"Reece has been ill and he's not trained today, so he won't make the game tomorrow," Potter explained at Friday's pre-match press conference.

"Raheem had a feeling in his hamstring, more tightness than anything, so he's looking doubtful for tomorrow as well."

Six of Chelsea's nine Premier League wins this season have come in the 11 games in which James has featured. The Blues have won just three of their 14 matches without the 23-year-old.

Chelsea count the likes of Kante and Thiago Silva among their more long-term absentees, with the former last featuring in August's 2-2 draw with Tottenham after suffering a hamstring injury and the latter aiming to return in April from a knee problem.

While Potter ruled out Kante returning against the midfielder's former team, the Blues boss revealed next week's home clash with Everton was a realistic target.

Asked whether Kante would be available at Leicester, Potter said: "No, he won't. He still needs some more time to build up. We're aiming more towards Everton, but unfortunately it won't be tomorrow.

"The most important thing for [Kante and Silva] is to get them back injury-free. The more good players we have, the better."

Chelsea's back-to-back victories have gone some way to easing pressure on Potter, after he watched his team win just one of their first 11 matches of the calendar year.

Asked if he felt a weight had been lifted in the last week, Potter said: "Yeah, in some way. It's always nicer to win, it's as simple as that. Everything feels a bit better, like you've taken a step forward.

"But I'm not getting carried away, it's just two wins. We have to focus on Leicester. The boys have stuck together through a bad time, and there's a lot to be said for that.

"The supporters have been really fair. Results-wise we haven't done that well, so you understand the criticism.

"It's hard for them to get behind something when the results aren't something to get behind. I have nothing to say about how we've been treated by the supporters, they've been great."

Reece James expects Chelsea to become "one of the best teams in the world" after the Blues' new signings combine and gain more experience together.

Chelsea spent a reported £294.8million in the January transfer window, with headline arrival Enzo Fernandez becoming the Premier League's record signing on deadline day from Benfica.

Mykhaylo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Andrey Santos, David Datro Fofana, Joao Felix, Noni Madueke and Malo Gusto all also arrived as Graham Potter's squad were boosted by a plethora of new arrivals.

While the Blues have won just one game in all competitions in 2023, James warned once those players gel, Chelsea will be a fearsome presence in both the Premier League and Europe.

The England right-back told Sky Sports News: "You know because the January period is always so busy with many games and then you've got transfer noise as well and it's just all a bit too much in one month. So I just don't really listen to too much of it.

"I quite enjoy playing with new players, you don't really know what to expect from them. They all come in from different places all over the world, you know different teams, they're all here to help at the end of the day. The quicker they're comfortable and settled, the quicker they can help.

"I don't think there's a trophy we can't win. When that happens? I don't know. With the team we're building, with the structure, with all the young players, once we play together for a longer period of time and everyone gains more experience, we're gonna be one of the best teams in the world."

James endured a difficult 2022 after missing the World Cup with England in November due to a knee injury and repeated fitness issues last year.

The 23-year-old is keen to learn from those experiences and utilise those challenges to grow under Potter this year.

"Sometimes you have a bad game and then you think, 'oh I'm annoyed, I had a bad game, but I'm also happy that I'm fit," he said of last year. "There's always pros and cons to football.

"With time I gain experience, I learn how to deal with different things, that helps with character building and growing as a person."

Chelsea sit 10th in the Premier League, a sizeable 20 points behind leaders Arsenal, but their next challenge awaits in the Champions League at home to Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 on Wednesday.

Reece James will miss up to a month with his latest knee injury, scans have revealed.

The Chelsea right-back returned to action against Bournemouth on Tuesday, having been out since October and missed England's World Cup campaign.

But James lasted just over 50 minutes before going down clutching his knee again.

Coach Graham Potter was "concerned" due to the injury occurring in the same place as the previous issue, and Chelsea have confirmed James has suffered a setback.

"Defender Reece James underwent assessment earlier today after being substituted during the second half of last night's 2-0 Premier League victory over AFC Bournemouth due to a knee injury," a statement read on Wednesday.

"Scan results have regrettably confirmed a setback for the 23-year-old, with Reece now set to be ruled out for up to a month."

James had earlier posted on Twitter describing his "toughest year to date", saying a painful end to 2022 had "naturally [affected] me mentally".

Reece James thanked Chelsea fans for their support after his "toughest year to date" ended with the right-back injured again.

It had looked like 2022 would be a year to remember for James for all the right reasons, starring for Chelsea and set to play a key role for England at Qatar 2022.

Yet injury robbed the defender of his World Cup dream, only returning from his knee problem in Tuesday's first Premier League match back against Bournemouth.

James' comeback was then cut short by an apparent setback, with Chelsea coach Graham Potter "concerned" afterwards and waiting for more news.

While there was no official word on James' status early on Wednesday, the England international revealed his mental toll in a downbeat Twitter post.

"2022 has been the toughest year to date," he wrote. "Just wanna thank you all for the support, none of you go unnoticed.

"It's naturally [affected] me mentally, I'm currently just [trying to] deal with the cards I've been dealt. 

"I hope your end of year is filled with peace, joy & happiness."

Potter, quoted by BBC Sport, had added: "Not until you work with him do you see how good he is. He could play in any team in the world, and any team would miss him.

"The plan was to play 60 minutes [against Bournemouth], so now he's disappointed, of course. We hope it's not as bad as it was and he can have a speedy recovery."

Reece James's latest injury scare is cause for concern for Chelsea, with the club and Graham Potter having their "fingers crossed" over his prognosis.

The right-back made his first appearance since an October knee injury that ruled him out of the World Cup in Tuesday's 2-0 win over Bournemouth.

But shortly after half-time, James was forced from the field with another knee worry.

"It's the same area, so we are concerned," Potter said, as quoted by BBC Sport. "It's really too soon. He felt something there.

"We will have to find out the extent of it and keep our fingers crossed. He's been really disappointed to miss the World Cup, of course. It was a huge blow to him."

The initial injury has limited Potter's work with James at Stamford Bridge so far, but he is a big fan of the England defender.

"You could see today his quality and what he brings to the team," Potter added. "He is a world-class player. You see it from the outside, but not until you work with him do you see how good he is.

"He could play in any team in the world, and any team would miss him. The plan was to play 60 minutes today, so now he's disappointed, of course. We hope it's not as bad as it was and he can have a speedy recovery."

Reece James was forced out of his comeback match for Chelsea as injury again got the better of the defender who missed England's World Cup campaign.

The right-back sat out the Qatar 2022 finals because of a knee blow sustained on Champions League duty against Milan on October 11.

Tuesday's Premier League game against Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge was James' first game back, having returned to training at the start of December.

However, he lasted only 51 minutes before injury struck again, with Chelsea 2-0 ahead at the time.

James appeared to feel a twinge after beating Bournemouth's Jaidon Anthony to the ball, and he immediately signalled to the bench he needed to be replaced.

James went down to the ground, covering his face and looking to be in trouble.

He was treated by Chelsea medical staff before being able to stand up and walk off the pitch, passing head coach Graham Potter as he departed to have the pain checked out.

Before the game, Potter had described James as being "in a good place" again after the "brutal" experience of having to sit out the World Cup.

Graham Potter says Reece James is "in a good place" again after the "brutal" experience of missing England's World Cup campaign.

Full-back James was left out of Gareth Southgate's 26-man squad for Qatar 2022, where England lost to France in the quarter-finals, due to a knee injury.

The 23-year-old has not played since sustaining the injury against Milan on October 11, but he returned to training at the start of December.

Potter acknowledged it has been a difficult period for James, who is set to feature against Bournemouth on Tuesday as Chelsea make their return to Premier League action.

"It was a World Cup and they come around every four years. So when you’re young, the perspective is not so easy to get," Potter said.

"You are young and you want to play. That's really understandable. It's the same for Reece, Ben Chilwell, N'Golo Kante. It's brutal really to have to deal with.

"You can try to help them and give them a bit of perspective but in the end it has to come from them, their families and those people close to them.

"I have to say he is in a good mood, he is in a good place. He has trained with us, is training well and is a good team-mate. He has dealt with it well.

"There is not too much you can say. You say it will get better with time and you have to focus on the things you can control. 

"There is nothing you can say to a player that will make it get better. All I can do is acknowledge it is upsetting, that whatever he is feeling is normal and help him move forwards.

"It was a challenging period for all the players. There were another 12 that are watching their team-mates and getting injured and missing the World Cup. 

"You have to think on some level there is an effect there. They're only human."

Potter confirmed he will continue to monitor James' playing time, though Wesley Fofana and Chilwell remain absent, while key midfield man Kante is out until February.

James has started half of Chelsea's 20 Premier League and Champions League games this season, with his absence from the side coinciding with a downturn in results.

"He's been training for a few weeks now and that helps," Potter added. "The tough time is when you can't play football because you're injured.

"For him, the best thing is that he is playing football and the World Cup is finished now and he can concentrate on playing football.

"He was in a really good place before he got injured. If you look at how the team was functioning before he got injured and after. 

"It's not the only reason of course but Reece is a top, top player and when he is not with us it's a miss. 

"I'm confident the more football he plays the more we will see what a fantastic footballer he really is."

Reece James will be available when Chelsea face Bournemouth on Tuesday but N'Golo Kante is out until at least February with his hamstring injury, Graham Potter revealed.

James missed out on Gareth Southgate's England squad for the World Cup in Qatar after sustaining a knee injury in October, leading the right-back to describe himself as "devastated".

Chelsea confirmed James returned to training as the Blues were put through their paces in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, and the 23-year-old could now feature against the Cherries at Stamford Bridge.

However, fellow defenders Ben Chilwell and Wesley Fofana remain unavailable, with the latter suffering a setback in his bid to recover from a knee injury.

"Wesley had a little setback, which can happen. It's a couple of weeks, he won't be available for the game," head coach Potter said on Friday.

"Reece is back in, he's been training and completed 65 minutes in the week [in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Brentford].

"We're still without Ruben [Loftus-Cheek], Ben Chilwell and Kante."

Kante has not featured since Chelsea – then under the leadership of Thomas Tuchel – drew 2-2 with Tottenham in August, and Potter is unlikely to have the midfielder available any time soon.

"He'll be a while, he'll be [back at] the end of February or the start of March," Potter said when asked about Kante's condition. "It's due to the surgery, the minimum period was four months."

Kante's contract with Chelsea expires at the end of the season, and with no new deal agreed, the 2018 World Cup winner has been linked with a move to Barcelona.

However, Potter was unwilling to discuss the midfielder's future, adding: "My focus is just to help him get back fit as soon as possible.

"Everyone knows the quality he has, so it's just about helping him get on the pitch, helping him to get fit, and I'm looking forward to seeing him play football, as we haven't seen him."

Reece James has returned to training with Chelsea after being omitted from England's World Cup squad due to injury.

The full-back was left out of Gareth Southgate's 26-man travelling squad to Qatar, where England face France in the quarter-finals on Saturday, after being sidelined since October 11 with a knee issue.

Southgate referenced "too many unknowns" over the Chelsea defender's recovery for leaving out James, who sustained the injury in a Champions League clash with Milan.

James spoke openly of his disappointment to miss out on FIFA's top tournament as he acknowledged "there was risk on both sides but it was one I was willing to take".

The 22-year-old returned to training on Monday for Chelsea's first session in Abu Dhabi at their warm-weather training camp as Graham Potter's side seek improvements after the World Cup break.

Chelsea lost their last three Premier League games before the mid-season interval to leave Potter's men eight points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, albeit with a game in hand.

A downturn in form coincided with losing numerous key players to injury, with Wesley Fofana, Ben Chilwell and Kepa Arrizabalaga joining James as absentees.

Fofana and Chilwell, the latter who also missed out on the World Cup with England due to injury, will hope to be fit for Chelsea's Premier League return at home to Bournemouth on December 27.

Chelsea next face Aston Villa in a mid-season friendly in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

The World Cup in Qatar is finally set to get underway, but there are a number of major players who will be watching along with the fans back home.

An unfortunate reality about the tournament is there will always be significant absences, either through a nation's failure to qualify or due to injury.

It is the latter that has been a major focus in the final week before Sunday's kick-off, with Senegal star Sadio Mane and France striker Karim Benzema both being late withdrawals from their respective squads, the latter suffering a quadriceps injury on Saturday, depriving the tournament of the 2022 Ballon d'Or winner.

Benzema's injury is just one of several significant blows for holders France, and they dominate Stats Perform's injured XI of the players unable to feature in Qatar.

Goalkeeper: Mike Maignan (France)

Maignan had a fine maiden season at Milan after joining from Lille. He kept 17 clean sheets in Serie A last term, the highest tally in the league, and conceded just 21 goals, with his save percentage of 79.4 the best of any Serie A goalkeeper to play more than 10 games in the competition.

He has made seven appearances this season, but the 27-year-old suffered a calf injury in October, leaving Didier Deschamps shorn of a quality shot-stopper to challenge Hugo Lloris.


Defence: Ben Chilwell (England), Reece James (England), Presnel Kimpembe (France)

Chelsea duo Reece James and Ben Chilwell were by no means guaranteed to start for England, but it's still a blow to Gareth Southgate not to have the pair available.

James has excelled at wing-back and would have been an ideal fit if England stick with a three-man defence, while he could also have slotted in at centre-back, and Chilwell would likely offer more attacking threat than Luke Shaw on the left should the Three Lions have needed to chase a game.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe helped France win the 2018 World Cup, but he had to withdraw from Deschamps' squad for Qatar due to an Achilles problem.

Midfield: N'Golo Kante (France), Giovani Lo Celso (Argentina), Paul Pogba (France), Georginio Wijnaldum (Netherlands)

Giovani Lo Celso was not always a key player for Tottenham but retained his place as a crucial cog for Argentina. La Albiceleste will be without the midfielder, who sustained a hamstring injury while playing for Villarreal against Athletic Bilbao late in October.

Georginio Wijnaldum scored three goals in four games for the Netherlands at Euro 2020, but shortly after joining Roma on loan from PSG, the former Liverpool midfielder suffered a fractured tibia and had no chance of recovering in time to make Louis van Gaal's squad.

Another two France stars complete the midfield, with Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante missing for Les Bleus. Both players were exceptional in 2018, but Kante is out with a hamstring problem, while Pogba is yet to make an appearance for Juventus this season after joining from Manchester United.


Attack: Karim Benzema (France), Sadio Mane (Senegal), Christopher Nkunku (France)

It's fair to say France have been hit hardest by injuries to big players, and there could arguably be none bigger than Benzema, the Ballon d'Or holder. Given he is 34, it could well have been the Real Madrid striker's final shot at a World Cup and is a huge blow not only to France but to football fans around the world who were highly anticipating the Benzema-Kylian Mbappe link-up.

A player who might have softened the blow of Benzema's injury was Christopher Nkunku, had he not already been ruled out himself with a knee issue sustained in training last week, just before Les Bleus left for Qatar. Nkunku has been in sensational form for RB Leipzig, with only Mbappe of players from Europe's top five leagues having scored more goals (58) since the start of last season than the RB Leipzig star, who has amassed 52 in 75 games.

Mane, meanwhile, was carrying the hopes of Senegal on his shoulders. The Africa Cup of Nations holders have a talented squad, but Mane was the stardust. He went down with an injury to his fibula while in action for Bayern Munich just before the World Cup break, and though Senegal named the ex-Liverpool attacker in their squad, he underwent surgery earlier this week and was duly ruled out.


Chelsea boss Graham Potter believes Reece James and Ben Chilwell will react well to the disappointment of missing out on England's squad for the World Cup in Qatar.

James sustained a knee injury in a Champions League game against Milan last month, and an estimated eight-week timescale for his recovery immediately threw his World Cup hopes into doubt.

The right-back initially vowed to do everything in his power to feature, but Gareth Southgate said there were simply "too many unknowns" concerning James' recovery as he left him out of the Three Lions' 26-man squad.

Fellow Blues full-back Chilwell will also miss the tournament after suffering a hamstring injury, and while Potter says the duo are understandably down, he believes they will bounce back.

"It's a natural reaction, they're disappointed. Reece thought he would be close and did everything he could to give himself a chance, but in the end, he fell a little bit short," Potter said on Friday.

"Obviously, I can understand the decision and understand Reece's frustration and disappointment. We just have to focus on the rehab on try to get them back as soon as we can.

"It's normal, World Cups don't come around very often and to miss them is disappointing, but they're strong characters. They'll be fine."

After Saturday's trip to Newcastle United, Chelsea are not in action until they face Bournemouth in the Premier League on December 27 – having been eliminated from the EFL Cup in midweek – and Potter hopes to use that break to nurse his injured stars back to fitness.

"If you're going to look at the positives, it's a time to do the rehab as thoroughly as possible without a timescale hanging over them," Potter said. "Hopefully, we have them when we restart and they're fit, strong and well.

"I wouldn't say I'm really looking forward to it, but we have to use it as what it is, and it's an opportunity to take stock.

"It's been incredibly intense, we've learned a lot. It's a chance to reflect. It would be stupid of me not to use that time to rejuvenate, to recover and to improve."

Midfielder Conor Gallagher was included in England's squad after making 17 appearances for Chelsea this season, and Potter believes he deserves it after breaking into the Blues' first team.

Asked if Gallagher's selection was a surprise, Potter said: "It's not something I really gave too much thought, to be honest; it's just nice for us and great for Conor. He's going to have a really positive experience, I think. 

"He's worked really hard, and he's a fantastic person, so it's nice. It's a fantastic honour for him, everyone is really pleased. 

"It's a nice story, he's been out on loan and come through the club, so to get the chance to play at the World Cup is great news for him."

Gareth Southgate says it may have been perceived as "arrogant" to select Reece James for England at the World Cup with "too many unknowns" over his recovery from injury.

The Chelsea full-back was left out of England's 26-man squad for the World Cup, which starts on November 20 in Qatar, after being sidelined since October 11 with a knee issue.

James sustained the injury in a Champions League clash with Milan and, despite no initial concern, scans revealed damaged ligaments could keep him out for up to eight weeks.

The 22-year-old still hoped to make England's travelling party but Three Lions manager Southgate opted to leave the right-back out due to the unknown nature of his recovery.

"We had to make a very difficult call with Reece, who is a fantastic player," Southgate said.

"He was not going to be available – if everything went perfectly – until the latter stages of the tournament and there were too many unknowns for us on that road to recovery."

Kyle Walker was still selected despite not playing since limping off in Manchester City's derby-day victory over Manchester United on October 2.

Southgate suggested Walker has made more encouraging progression in his recovery as he claimed including James may not be looked upon favourably due to issues over his group-stage availability.

"I do not think we can take a player who is not available for the group stage, that would be deemed arrogant in some circles," the 52-year-old added.

"But if everything went well and he was available, we would be dropping him into a quarter-final after eight weeks out. That would be really demanding. So it was a tough call.

"Kyle is a long way ahead of that and is progressing really well."

England face Iran in their World Cup opener before Group B fixtures against the United States and Wales.

Reece James has confirmed his hopes of competing for England at the World Cup are over.

The Chelsea defender suffered a knee injury in October and always looked unlikely to recover in time to make the cut for Qatar, with Gareth Southgate set to name his Three Lions squad on Thursday.

James refused to give up hope, insisting he would do everything in his power to feature, but on Wednesday the 22-year-old conceded he will not return to fitness in time.

"Devastated," James posted on social media.

"The minute I injured my knee, I knew the turnaround to make the World Cup would be tight, but I always felt it was possible. 

"I've worked harder than I ever thought I could to give myself the best chance of going and truly believed I could help the team.

"I appreciate there was risk on both sides but it was one I was willing to take.

"Good luck to the boys. I'll be back soon. Stay safe and sending love."

James has been joined on the absentee list by his Chelsea club-mate and fellow full-back Ben Chilwell, who has suffered a serious hamstring injury.

Kyle Walker is also a doubt due to an abdominal problem.

England are not the only team to be hit by injuries to potentially crucial players just before the tournament.

France, whose squad will be confirmed on Wednesday, are without Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante, while Timo Werner will be absent for Germany.

Sadio Mane, meanwhile, is reportedly a major doubt after sustaining a fibula injury while playing for Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Reece James has described the knee injury that threatens to rule him out of the World Cup as "devastating", but says he will do everything in his power to feature in Qatar.

The right-back sustained the injury in Chelsea's Champions League win at Milan last week, and was ruled out for eight weeks after seeing a specialist.

If James were to miss the tournament, it would represent a severe blow for England manager Gareth Southgate, who is facing the prospect of a selection crisis on the right of his defence.

Manchester City's Kyle Walker is also battling to be fit after suffering an abdominal injury earlier this month, while Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold has come under fire for his recent performances.

However, Chelsea boss Graham Potter said last week that James would "fight" to return in time for the tournament, and the defender has now made a similar pledge.

"It's obviously devastating and you know the World Cup is only a month away," James said on his YouTube channel. "As a kid, growing up, I always wanted to go and this is my first opportunity.

"I'll do everything I can to try to be there, but I'm obviously devastated. Just [the] injury came at the wrong time. But every day, we need to be grateful and thankful.

"I'll keep you updated with what's happening on a day-to-day basis, and I'll touch base soon."

England begin their World Cup campaign in less than a month's time, facing Iran in their Group B opener on November 21.

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