Chelsea right-back Reece James has offered an insight into his recovery from the injury which forced him to miss the World Cup.
James was a shoo-in for Gareth Southgate’s squad before injuring his knee in October, and after initial optimism over his recovery, it was confirmed that the right-back needed eight weeks on the sidelines and would not make the squad as a result.
Manager Graham Potter brought James to Abu Dhabi with the rest of the Chelsea squad during the World Cup break and he is now back in team training as he steps up his bid to return before the end of the calendar year.
Speaking to in-house media, James admitted: “It’s been frustrating. Obviously, missing the World Cup and [recovery] taking longer than I first hoped, but it’s good to be back with the team. It was my first session today, which was light contact. It’s good to be back.”
James took the chance to thank his teammates for their support during his recovery, adding: “It definitely helps, but it comes from within as well.
“Every day is tough, especially when you’re trying to get back out there and fight for the team. It’s a struggle sometimes, but coming towards the end of it, you start to see light, and that’s when good things come.”
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James is rehabbing alongside left-back Ben Chilwell, who also missed the World Cup through injury and, like his teammate, suffered a similar injury last season that left both sidelined at the same time.
“Last season, we both got injured at pretty much the same point. It’s not ideal, definitely not what you want, especially when we both missed a major tournament,” James said.
“But you can only deal with the cards you’ve been dealt. It’s tough but we have to accept it and look at the positives.”