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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel miffed at Reece James call-up to England squad despite injury

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says he is bemused that Reece James has been called up for the England squad, insisting he will not be fit in time to join up with Gareth Southgate’s side next week.

James was forced off during the Blues’ 1-0 defeat to Manchester City last Saturday with an ankle problem and missed the midweek trip to Juventus in the Champions League, but was still named in Southgate’s party on Thursday.

The German joked that he thought James had been called up to the England water polo team, given the right-back is currently rehabbing in the pool and has been ruled out of this weekend’s Premier League meeting with Southampton.

When asked if James had been named in the England squad with his blessing, Tuchel replied: “You would assume so, no? But when I saw it I thought that maybe Reece goes with the water polo team for England, because right now he trains in the pool.

“So I was a bit surprised, but I understood that he was selected for the football team. So this will not happen because Reece is training in the pool right now.

“So my understanding, my last information is that he will not go. So that can only be a misunderstanding, nothing else.”

England play World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary next week and should James be ruled out Southgate may be forced to add to his squad.

Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold is also out injured and while the Three Lions manager still has Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker as right-back options, the former may also be pencilled in as cover on the opposite flank where Southgate has selected Luke Shaw - who has been out injured himself - as his only specialist left-back after leaving out James’ Chelsea teammate Ben Chilwell.

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