Thomas Tuchel claims injured Reece James WON’T go on international duty with England and says he thought call-up was for the WATER POLO team as Chelsea full-back is still on pool work
- Reece James picked up an ankle injury against Manchester City on Saturday
- The right back missed the loss to Juventus and won’t face Southampton either
- Thomas Tuchel says a ‘misunderstanding’ is to blame for James being called up
- Tuchel revealed that Petr Cech would sort James’ withdrawal from the squad
Thomas Tuchel has admitted that he was surprised at Gareth Southgate’s decision to call up the injured Reece James – and joked that he thought the right back had been drafted into England’s water polo team as he was recovering in a pool at the club’s Cobham training ground.
James came off on 29 minutes against Manchester City after picking up an ankle injury and was not available for selection as the Blues lost against Juventus on Wednesday.
Nevertheless, Southgate decided on Thursday to name James as part of a 23-man squad ahead of 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary.
Reece James was forced off with an ankle injury in the defeat to Manchester City on Saturday
Thomas Tuchel admitted he was surprised that the right back was called up to play for England
Gareth Southgate named James in his 23-man squad for upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers
‘When I saw it I thought maybe Reece goes with the water polo teams as he is training in the pool,’ laughed Tuchel.
‘I am surprised. My understanding is that he will not go. This will not happen. It can only be a misunderstanding.’
When asked to elaborate on whether he was surprised not to have been called by Southgate, Tuchel replied: ‘It’s normal. Imagine if every [international] coach called [a club coach].
‘I am very bad at answering calls anyway. The club is in touch and [Chelsea technical director] Petr Cech sorts these things out. It can happen.’
Tuchel has said that Petr Cech will negotiate James’ withdrawal from Southgate’s squad
Chelsea can end the weekend top if they beat winless Southampton at Stamford Bridge
Just prior to the defeat in Turin, Tuchel suggested there was a good chance of the 21-year-old being in contention to face Brentford immediately after the international break.
The German said: ‘He’s still very painful. It will come down to pain management in the end, how much he can accept. But right now we are looking at a minimum of one more week.’
Tuchel’s men are up against winless Southampton on Saturday, with a win potentially taking the team to the summit before the top-of-the-table clash between Liverpool and Manchester City the following day.