Potter Breaks Silence On Reece James Early Substitution Amid Concerns Of Injury Relapse

Kingsley Ikechi
Reece James was the recipient of an early substitution by Graham Potter in the 60th minute of Chelsea’s Premier League clash against Fulham on Friday night. The wing-back was making his first appearance since Boxing Day after suffering a second knee injury in two months which saw him miss another stretch of the Blues 2022/23 campaign.

The initial injury for James was suffered in the Champions League group stage clash against AC Milan in early October which ruled him out for at least eight weeks placing his World Cup chances heavily into doubt. James felt as though he could feature for England in Qatar but Gareth Southgate made the decision to omit from his squad.

James therefore continued his rehabilitation, with a trip to Dubai, alongside Wesley Fofana, part of his recovery plan. The 23-year-old then saw his comeback ruined with another problem, but he made his second return just over a month later in the west London derby.

A plan had been set in place by Chelsea for James to return in the Fulham clash and that turned out to be the case as he replaced Trevoh Chalobah in the starting lineup. James endured a quiet opening 45 minutes, with Fulham standing firm against the hosts.

However, James was brought off by Potter on the hour mark being replaced by Cesar Azpilicutea. There were some initial injury concerns, but his withdrawal was all part of the plan.

“Reece [James] looked good of course, but not yet ready for 90 minutes,” Potter said in his post-match press conference when quizzed on the wing-back’s early subsitution.

An early withdrawal for James is therefore nothing to worry about for Chelsea and he will likely be available for their next game against West Ham.

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