The English Football Association have been left furious with Chelsea for their treatment of defender Reece James as it has emerged that his knee injury is more serious than first anticipated, leaving him a major doubt for the World Cup.
The England right-back picked up the injury during his side’s comfortable 3-0 win over AC Milan in Italy, but after the game was walking around freely and without any strapping as he applauded the travelling fans.
Following this, Graham Potter opted to give James the day off with his teammates rather than opting for him to see a specialist as soon as possible, and the defender reportedly went sightseeing around Milan with the Blues squad, during which time he wore no strapping on his knee.
Then, the Daily Mail add, “James returned to London on an easyJet plane without medical support and his knee was not in a brace, though he was given extra leg room on the flight”.
And the same report claims that this slow action has left the FA angry with how the injury to one of their star men was handled, just over a month before the start of England’s World Cup campaign.
“FA staff are understood to have queried why James was allowed to stay in Milan given the potentially serious nature of the injury”, they add, with the FA believing that “James should have returned to London straight away”.
Of course, their concern is heightened by the weakness at right back, previously one of England’s greatest strengths. Kyle Walker is in a race to be fit for the tournament having undergone groin surgery, while Trent Alexander-Arnold is woefully out of form, leaving just Kieran Trippier as it stands ahead of England’s opener.
Arsenal’s Ben White is likely to be called up by Southgate should neither James nor Walker prove their fitness, with his strong start to the season making him virtually un-ignorable for the England hierarchy.