Injury setback for Chelsea as Reece James ruled out of Club World Cup

Chelsea v Brighton and Hove Albion – Premier League – Stamford Bridge
(Image credit: Adam Davy)

Reece James will miss Chelsea’s Club World Cup campaign due to his continued hamstring troubles.

Chelsea had hoped to see James back in team training this week but the England wing-back had experienced several small setbacks, including suffering the flu.

James has been out of action since damaging his hamstring in Chelsea’s 1-1 Premier League draw with Brighton at Stamford Bridge on December 29.

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Boss Thomas Tuchel admitted Chelsea must be patient while James continues to push towards a playing return.

Chelsea will jet out to Abu Dhabi after Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round clash with Plymouth, with their Club World Cup semi-final on February 9.

“Reece is not in team training yet, so he’s not available this weekend,” said Tuchel. “And he will not travel with us to Abu Dhabi because he’s not back in team training.

“I’m too long manager to have big feelings for injuries, and not to get overexcited by pure dates that are maybe out there when a player can come back.

“I know you can have setbacks and it can take a long time sometimes, it depends, and the injury was a big injury and I felt it straight away.

“The diagnosis was straight away that it’s a big injury, and from there we need to be patient. It’s a hamstring, it’s always tricky and he’s a very physical player.

“And unfortunately he then caught the flu and that was a setback in the last few days of his process in coming back to the team.

“But we are patient. We would love to have him back tomorrow of course, but it’s not happening and we have to be patient.”

Ruben Loftus-Cheek will also miss Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Plymouth due to a knock, while Christian Pulisic and Thiago Silva are unavailable after international duty.

Chelsea were unable to bring in wing-back cover in the January window after Ben Chilwell’s season-ending knee injury and James’ continued hamstring trouble.

Brazilian full-back Kenedy is back with the Blues with a chance to impress after they were unable to bring Emerson Palmieri back from loan on Lyon.

Chelsea v Chesterfield – Emirates FA Cup – Third Round – Stamford Bridge

Ruben Loftus-Cheek will miss Chelsea’s FA Cup fourth round clash with Plymouth (Nick Potts/PA)

Tuchel insisted he harbours no frustrations over the lack of transfer window success however, remaining confident Chelsea can cope with their current resources.

Asked about the transfer window, Tuchel said: “No, no frustration, because I was also calm and there was no frustration because I know what kind of quality we would need to add to a very strong and a good group.

“It’s also my job to find solutions when we have injuries. We tried and had ideas, but in the end we stick to what we have and we are happy with it.

“Reece will come back at some point. Unfortunately not Ben Chilwell, but Reece will come back and then he will compete for his place and compete for a place in the squad to fulfil his dreams and reach his full potential.

“Cesar Azpilicueta is at the moment in fantastic form and in a fantastic place, that is why it’s fine. We try to find solutions within our squad.”

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