Reece James ruled out of Chelsea’s Club World Cup campaign

Chelsea’s winger Reece James will not go to the next FIFA Club World Cup with the rest of the group, as the competition comes too soon for him following a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury.

The England international was taken off in the 1-1 stalemate with Brighton at Stamford Bridge on 29 December after tearing his hamstring, according to scans. The Blues have won just once in the Premier League in the weeks since, with points squandered against Liverpool, Manchester City, and Brighton putting their championship hopes in jeopardy once more.

James was due to return to team training in time to compete in the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi after a month away, but a case of sickness has slowed his recuperation.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel announced in his pre-match news conference ahead of facing Plymouth in the FA Cup fourth round that the 22-year-old will miss at least another fortnight.

“He [James] is not in team training yet, so maybe that answers the question,” the German said. “After a couple of weeks, he will need some time in team training to get the confidence back. He does not travel with us to the Club World Cup.”

He continued: “I am too long a coach to not get overexcited by pure dates that are maybe out there. I know you can have setbacks and can take long sometimes. The injury was a big injury and I felt it straight away. The diagnosis was straight away it was a big injury and from there we have to be patient.

“It’s always a bit of a tricky one and he is a physical player. He caught the flu in the last week and lost days in his process of coming back to the team.

“We are patient and we want to have him on the pitch tomorrow, of course, but it’s not happening at the moment and we have to stay patient. He works hard and is in best hands.”

Tuchel also confirmed that the Chelsea squad will fly to the UAE following Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round match against Plymouth. They will play their Club World Cup semi-final on Wednesday against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.

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