Why Reece James isn’t in Chelsea squad vs Leeds United

Reece James not in Chelsea squad for clash against Leeds United

A major injury blow was dealt to Chelsea ahead of their matchup with Leeds United, as Reece James hasn’t been named in the squad for the Premier League clash later today (4 March).

Graham Potter has been told that this will be a make-or-break game, and the England’s international absence in the defence line is a key concern that could affect Chelsea’s performance.

The 23-year-old has been suffering from a knee issue, which would, of course, be the reason why he hasn’t started or been named on the bench today. James missed the Southampton game but played the entire the full 90 minutes in the 2-0 loss against Tottenham Hotspur.

It is believed James cannot play the whole 90 minutes in every Chelsea game, as he continues to recover from a knee injury.

Chelsea right-back Reece James.
Chelsea right-back Reece James.

As he heals from a recent knee injury, the right-back is being evaluated for fitness. If f he plays a full game, he will sustain an overload of injuries.

Injury-wise, the 23-year-old has endured a difficult season. He missed the World Cup because of a knee injury he acquired playing against AC Milan in October, and when he got his first match back, the final match of 2022 at Stamford Bridge, he was forced off the pitch after just 53 minutes.

Prior to the Leeds game, Potter informed (h/t Football.London), the press conference regarding James’ injury and stated that he could not take a chance by playing him:

“Reece [James] has a tightness in his hamstring; we are assessing him, but he’s doubtful for tomorrow as well.”

The unavailability of Reece James and Thiago Silva against Leeds United will undoubtedly be noticed, and Potter will need to get our backline geared up for this crucial contest. 

With Cesar Azpilicueta injured and James not in the team, the former Brighton & Hove Albion manager has seemingly gone with Ruben Loftus-Cheek down that flank.

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Noni Madueke and Mykhaylo Mudryk, meanwhile, are surprise exclusions from the starting XI and we could see them brought on substitutes in the second half.

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