Reece James decision left Thomas Tuchel “surprised”

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Reece James decision left Thomas Tuchel "surprised".
Reece James decision

Chelsea defender Reece James is part of England’s squad despite nursing an ankle injury, a decision that has left Thomas Tuchel “surprised”.

Thomas Tuchel does not expect Reece James to link up with the England squad next week, joking the defender will only be able to play water polo as he is still training in the swimming pool on his return from injury.

James was included in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad on Thursday for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers with Andorra and Hungary, despite sustaining an ankle injury in the first half of the Blues’ 1-0 defeat to Manchester City last week.

The 21-year-old subsequently sat out the Blues’ 1-0 loss to Juventus in the Champions League in midweek and will play no part in Saturday’s Premier League clash with Southampton.

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Southgate called up James in the hope of using him in one of England’s October fixtures, but Tuchel does not believe that will be possible.

“I was a bit surprised. I understand he was selected for the [England] football team but this will not happen,” Tuchel said at a pre-match news conference on Friday. “My last information is he will not go. It can only be a misunderstanding.

“When I saw it, I thought maybe Reece goes with the water polo team for England as right now he trains only in the pool.” Southgate also called up fellow injured Chelsea player Mason Mount, who has sat out the Blues’ last two matches, though Tuchel is more optimistic about the midfielder’s chances of playing during international break.

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“Mason is in the squad [to face Southampton], Mason is back. It was not a long injury, it was a minor injury. Obviously, a given he is nominated and he’s happy to be and will give everything to do his best for the England squad. While James and Mount were called up for England duty, Ben Chilwell was overlooked by Southgate due to a lack of playing time for Chelsea this season.

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