Reece James: England and Chelsea right-back ruled out for ‘eight weeks’ with knee injury | Football News

Reece James is set to be ruled out of England’s World Cup squad after Chelsea confirmed the right-back is expected to be sidelined for eight weeks with a knee problem.

The 22-year-old sustained the injury late in the second half of Tuesday’s 2-0 victory at AC Milan in the Champions League and was withdrawn after receiving medical treatment on the pitch.

“Following the knee injury sustained in our away match against AC Milan, Reece has received treatment from the Chelsea medical department and visited a specialist this weekend,” Chelsea said in a statement.

Reece James went off injured in the 62nd minute
Reece James went off injured in the 62nd minute of Chelsea’s Champions League win at AC Milan

“After consultation between all parties, Reece will now undergo a rehabilitation programme and is expected to be out for eight weeks.”

Sunday 16th October 1:00pm

Kick off 2:00pm

The World Cup begins on November 20, with England beginning their group campaign a day later against Iran.

England manager Gareth Southgate has seen three of his leading right-backs succumb to injury in recent weeks.

Manchester City’s Kyle Walker is a major doubt to make Southgate’s squad following a groin surgery, with his inclusion resting on his recovery, while Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold is also sidelined.

Alexander-Arnold was ruled out for a fortnight after sustaining an ankle injury in Liverpool’s 3-2 defeat at Arsenal last Sunday.

Who is available on standby?

Arsenal's Ben White (left) has been in great form at right-back
Arsenal’s Ben White (left) has been in great form at right-back

By far and away the prime standby candidate to come into the England fold in the event of a right-back crisis is Ben White, who is excelling on the right of league leaders Arsenal’s defence.

White’s versatility makes him a classic ‘Southgate player’ when it comes to England – the manager has regularly picked and favoured players who can adopt multiple positions such as Walker, Trippier, Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling.

The Arsenal defender is naturally a centre-back but has been starring for the Gunners at right-back this term – while he can also feature at right centre-back in a three and – if needed – central midfield.


White’s tactical game is diverse too. He started the season by adopting infield positions at right-back – but showed in recent matches against Tottenham and Liverpool that he can bomb forward around the outside of his right winger, this being England international Saka at Arsenal.

A part of the Euro 2020 squad two summers ago, White has some experience of being in a tournament football environment and – considering his last two England caps came in a right-back role – Southgate is facing real questions as to why the Arsenal defender is not in this autumn picture already.

Only two other right-backs have been selected by Southgate in the last 12 months – Southampton’s Kyle Walker-Peters and Leicester full-back James Justin.

James Justin has been called up by England within the last year
James Justin has been called up by England within the last year

It’s harder to compare the attacking qualities of full-backs from clubs currently battling at the wrong end of the table, but Justin certainly stands out at his club this term.

Formidable in the air, the 24-year-old has covered down both flanks and registered team-topping numbers for winning duels and blocking crosses.

But Justin also excels on the ball with only Harvey Barnes taking more touches on the ball or attempting more dribbles this season.

The only issue for Justin is that he is too similar in profile to Trippier in the way he can adopt both flanks – and with plenty of competition on those two areas, the 24-year-old seems too far down the queue for a realistic call-up.


As is the case with Justin, Walker-Peters’ statistics are harder to contextualise with Southampton currently sat 17th in the table.

The radar below reveals an all-round effectiveness to his game, notably for attempting dribbles and crosses.

Based on historical returns, his high reading for goalscoring is arguably skewed due to the limited number of games so far – currently boosted by his solitary goal against Leeds in August.

However, the 25-year-old has proven his defensive attributes over the years and his above-average returns for winning duels exemplifies this best.

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