The international break is a nice time to catch up with those players who are not off playing matches, and in this case that includes club captain Reece James.
He told his England manager Gareth Southgate that he didn’t want to be considered for selection for these games as he is still recovering from a hamstring injury suffered in the days after our Premier League opening day game against Liverpool.
James is fit again, and has started playing for us, but has yet to complete 90 minutes, and is certainly not going to take any risks to play for England in some relatively meaningless games.
Speaking to the Chelsea official website, James took us through how he’s feeling, and his ambitions for the rest of the season:
‘There are times you feel things, but all you want to do is play. Then you push and realise something has happened. My body gave me a warning, but I didn’t listen. I’m more aware now when something is screaming, slow down a bit.”
‘I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I definitely feel my strength and fitness building up again. Recently, I’ve been able to play consistently. I haven’t been able to play 90 minutes yet, but I’m training and playing hard, and pushing the limits every day to get back to my best level.
“I’m happy to be helping the team again as well. After almost three months out, it takes a while to build back up and find your form again. Some people think as soon as you come back you should instantly be at the level you left at, but it doesn’t work like that.
£You have to move slow and steady. That’s what I have been doing. I’m slowly progressing.”
If all goes to plan, James should be ready to play full games when needed after this fortnight off – although we still very much expect him to be one of the most regular players taken off in the team ad Mauricio Pochettino treats his captain with extra care.