Reece James ‘devastated’ to be suspended for England’s two Nations League games

By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA
·2-min read

Reece James admits he is “devastated” to be missing England’s two crunch Nations League matches through suspension but is taking confidence from his inclusion in the latest Three Lions squad.

Chelsea full-back James is banned for the trip to Belgium on Sunday and the game at home to Iceland three days later.

He was sent off after the final whistle of his full debut – a 1-0 loss to Denmark last month which leaves England’s hopes of reaching the Nations League finals hanging by a thread.

James was sent off for remonstrating with the referee after the final whistle against Denmark last month.
James was sent off for remonstrating with the referee after the final whistle against Denmark last month. ((Nick Potts/PA)

The 20-year-old impressed manager Gareth Southgate enough during his first international camp last month to still earn a call-up this time around despite only being available for one of the three games.

He played the whole 90 minutes of Thursday’s 3-0 friendly win over the Republic of Ireland after Southgate had said he “grabbed his opportunity with both hands” during the October break.

“It is obviously a very good confidence-booster,” James said of his inclusion in the squad. “It shows that he still wanted me here and still believes in me.

“Obviously I will take the red card from last time and I will learn from it and move on and hopefully it will have a positive impact in the long run.

“I’m obviously devastated that I can’t play in the next two games but it is a mistake I need to learn from and keep on progressing.”

England will most likely need to beat both Belgium and Iceland in the coming days to stand any chance of making the Nations League finals for a second time.

Jadon Sancho scored the pick of the goals as England eased to victory over the Republic of Ireland.
Jadon Sancho scored the pick of the goals as England eased to victory over the Republic of Ireland. (Carl Recine/PA)

They sit third in Group A2 with only the winners advancing to the final competition – currently slated for next October – and, although he cannot feature, James believes the manner of the victory over Ireland is a good starting point to end the international year on a high.

“It was a very good victory,” he added. “A good team performance and it helps us build momentum into the next games coming up.

“We won in style, scoring a number of goals and keeping a clean sheet helps the team build confidence.”