Reece James has begun jogging at Chelsea’s Cobham training base, Graham Potter has confirmed, ahead of the England World Cup squad announcement.
The 22-year-old picked up a knee injury against AC Milan in the Champions League last month and it was feared he could be out for up to eight weeks, leaving his World Cup hopes hanging by a thread.
But the Chelsea defender has continued to work hard on his recovery and rehabilitation ahead of Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad being named on Thursday.
James is desperate to be on the plane to Qatar, but it remains unclear if the England boss will select the right-back who won’t be fit for the start of the tournament.
As reported by the Daily Mail, James’ fate has already been sealed with Southgate having already chosen his 26-man squad.
Southgate is claimed to have ‘personally spoken to the players whose selection have been thrown into doubt due to injury in the last few days’, including James.
Chelsea head coach Graham Potter provided a fresh update on James’ recovery and revealed he is has started to take to the grass to build his fitness up.
The 47-year-old confirmed: “Reece was outside today having a little jog.”
Potter insisted he wouldn’t rush the England international back and left the decision in the hands of the defender and doctors.
“I just think it’s how he responds (James being available for World Cup).
“We don’t want to rush anything, I don’t want to put any timescales on it. That’s for him, doctors and physios.”
His teammate Mateo Kovacic will be going to the World Cup after Potter confirmed the Croatian is ready tor selection despite an ongoing knee problem this term.
Potter said: “He’ll be fine for the World Cup.
I wouldn’t say he’s 100 per cent but he’s not far off. We’ve managed it well
But Kepa Arrizabalaga may not be as fortunate. He is currently sidelined with a foot injury and his availability still remains unclear ahead of the tournament later this month.
Potter concluded: We’ll see (if available for the World Cup). He’s got to take it day by day. It’s a tear in his plantar fascia.
It’s how he responds to pain, how comfortable he feels. At the moment, not so positive.