Southgate’s decision over key Chelsea player may bolster the club’s chances against Real Madrid

Chelsea Madrid, Six Sports

England manager Gareth Southgate has some news that could prove to be a relief for Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel. Southgate recently named his squad for England’s upcoming fixtures against Switzerland and Ivory Coast. The list was brimming with talent as usual, but altercations could be made before the fixtures. Chelsea wing-back Reece James was on the list as well, but his injury concerns could see Southgate drop him. James picked up a muscular injury and has since missed Chelsea’s last three games. However, Chelsea faces Real Madrid after the international break, and it’s obvious that Tuchel will want one of his best players available for the tie.

Reece James was last seen in action against Burnley in the Premier League. The right wing-back scored a goal and assisted another in Chelsea’s 4-0 thrashing of Burnley. The performance once again highlighted James’ importance in Tuchel’s Chelsea system. No surprise Tuchel wants him fit and running for their Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid.

Tuchel’s wish was granted by Gareth Southgate

In the wake of his recurred injury, Thomas Tuchel had urged Gareth Southgate to exclude James from England’s upcoming friendlies. Tuchel was speaking ahead of Chelsea’s FA Cup fixture against Middlesborough and made his stance clear over James.

The German said,

“The recommendation is that he (Reece James) does not go. There is no doubt about it”. Tuchel further added that the club can provide James a better plan for his recovery. “He is still in individual training and needs one more week of rehabilitation. I think we can provide this much better – it is not the job of the national team”

stated the Chelsea manager.

Chelsea Madrid, Six Sports

Tuchel’s request has not gone unheard, as Southgate has decided to drop Reece James per multiple reports. If dropped, the international break would then provide Reece James a window of two weeks to recover healthily. Moreover, if his recovery goes as planned, Tuchel could even give James some minutes against Brentford right after the international break. And all being well, Reece James could even start for Chelsea in the quarter-final against Real Madrid which follows the Brentford game.

Why Reece James is so important for Chelsea going against Real Madrid?

Reece James has significantly upped his games over the past few seasons. In the process, the wing-back has also cemented his place in the Chelsea starting line-up. Reece James’ importance in the team has been highlighted even more this season after Chelsea failed to cope-up with his absence on the right flank. Despite playing only 17 league games this term, James has had 11 goal contributions (5 goals and 6 assists) in them. However, James’ replacement Cesar Azpilicueta has been quite unproductive on the right, assisting a mere 2 goals in 18 league games.

Chelsea Madrid, Six Sports

Moreover, as per FBRef Reece James has an average of 0.84 goals and assists per 90. No Chelsea player has touched or gone closer to that average, as Azpilicueta also clocks only 0.13 goals and assists per 90. Chelsea have crucial games ahead, which would decide how their season ends. Chelsea looks favorites against Real Madrid, despite the Los Blancos’ PSG heroics. But Tuchel cannot sleep on the La Liga leaders and thus wants Reece James for the tie. Chelsea also have other tasks in FA Cup and a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Tuchel may look stubborn in asking Southgate to drop James from the England squad, but this could rather help the right-back. The break that international football provides could well prove to be a huge advantage in Reece’s recovery. Though Chelsea will be having the first benefits, England would also reap positive results. World Cup is around the corner and England would definitely want one of their best wing-backs fully fit for the tournament.

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