Reece James has returned to Chelsea training after being injured and left off England’s World Cup roster.
The full-back, who has been out with a knee injury since October 11, was not named to Gareth Southgate’s 26-man traveling squad to Qatar, where England will face France in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
James, who suffered the injury in a Champions League match with Milan, was left out of the team by Southgate, who cited “too many unknowns” regarding the Chelsea defender’s recovery.
James acknowledged that “there was risk on both sides, but it was one I was willing to take” as he openly expressed his disappointment at missing out on FIFA’s premier tournament.
The 22-year-old returned to training on Monday for Chelsea’s first session in Abu Dhabi at their warm-weather training camp as Graham Potter’s side seek improvements after the World Cup break.
Prior to the midseason break, Chelsea dropped their final three Premier League contests, dropping Potter’s team to fourth place eight points behind Tottenham, despite having a game in hand.
A decline in performance was accompanied by the absence of several important players, including Wesley Fofana, Ben Chilwell, and Kepa Arrizabalaga in addition to James.
Fofana and Chilwell, who both missed the World Cup with England due to injury, will be hoping to be in shape for Chelsea’s return to the Premier League on December 27 at home against Bournemouth.
On Sunday in Abu Dhabi, Chelsea will play Aston Villa in the next midseason friendly.