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‘If it was Harry Kane, he would be going’ Reece James aims dig at Gareth Southgate following World Cup omission

The Chelsea defender was not selected among the 26 man squad heading to Qatar


Reece James has taken aim at Gareth Southgate over social media following the Chelsea defender’s omission from the final 26-man squad for England’s trip to Qatar to contest the 2022 World Cup.

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The right-back picked up a knee injury during a Champions League clash against AC Milan last month, and was always going to be a longshot to play any part in the tournament as he worked his way back, but hoped to be included alongside fellow injury returnees Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips, both of whom were in the same boat.

However, while the pair were included, James was overlooked, with Southgate explaining that ‘We had to make a very difficult call with Reece, who we think is a fantastic player.”

‘He wasn’t going to be available, even if everything went perfectly, until the latter stages of the tournament and there were too many unknowns for us on that road to recovery”, the Three Lions boss added.

However, this has caused controversy in some circles, with ex-England midfielder Paul Merson leaping to James’ defence.

“I just find it weird that he’s willing to gamble on Phillips and Kyle Walker but not Reece James”, he wrote in The Daily Star.

“If it was Harry Kane he would be going - what’s the difference? We aren’t going to win the World Cup without having James in the team.”

And James has since made his feelings abundantly clear, ‘liking’ those comments when they were posted to Twitter to leave people in no doubt that he felt the same way, and that he had been left unhappy by the situation.

In James’ absence, Southgate has called up Trent Alexander-Arnold and Arsenal defender Ben White, while the absence of Harry Kane, England’s captain and the Premier League’s second top goalscorer would have left the Three Lions short on quality options up front.

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.



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