Reece James handed England Euro 2024 boost as Chelsea star can't hide emotion in Forest win

Mauricio Pochettino believes Reece James is fit enough to make England's squad for this summer's European Championships after he marked his return from injury with a game-winning assist in Chelsea's 3-2 win against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

The 24-year-old had been out of action for over five months due to a hamstring injury before his impressive late cameo at the City Ground as goals from Mykhaylo Mudryk, Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Jackson, assisted by James, saw the Blues come from behind to secure a vital three points in their pursuit of Europa League qualification.

However, despite the defender's return coming just eight days before the end of the Premier League season, Pochettino insisted that next week's games against Brighton & Hove Albion and Bournemouth will provide the ideal platform for James to prove his fitness to England manager Gareth Southgate ahead of this summer's Euro's in Germany.

"Massive. It's unlucky there are only two games ahead and it's one week," said Pochettino of James' return after Saturday's win against Forest. "It is important for him to recover for his feelings and he is such an important player for us.

"He is our captain. We all love him. Yes, important, and to see whether he will be fit and have a chance of making the Euros."

Last week, UEFA announced that squad sizes for this summer's tournament will be increased from 23 to 26 players, providing a boost to players like James, who missed England's 2022 World Cup campaign in Qatar after suffering a serious knee injury in a Champions League tie against AC Milan just weeks before.

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Meanwhile, at the City Ground on Saturday night it wasn't just Pochettino who was pleased by the return of Chelsea's No.24, with Mudryk quick to make a beeline for James at full-time and shout "He's back, he's back!".