Southgate retaliate as Reece James snubs England call-up


England boss, Gareth Southgate has warned Chelsea captain, Reece James, that he has taken a ‘risk’ by opting out of the latest Three Lions squad ahead of the 2024 Euro.

Southgate also reminded James that there is only one more international break before Euro 2024.

James has struggled with injuries throughout his young career so far.

The 23-year-old was out of action recently with a knee problem.

The defender is now fit again and even started Chelsea’s last Premier League win over Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night.

However, James decided not to accept a call-up to the England squad to face Malta and North Macedonia later this month in order to continue rebuilding full fitness.

And Southgate has now made it clear that he is not blaming James for trying to look after his own condition, but he would not hide the fact that the player has put himself at risk, as England are very well stocked at right-back position, with the likes of Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold and others competing with the Chelsea star.

“I was hoping to call up Reece James but he doesn’t feel he’s quite ready,” Southgate said at a press conference on Thursday.

“I understand that he’s had a long path back from a number of injuries. He is probably a bit cautious in that respect, but I can understand why.

“There is (a lot of talent ahead of James) and that is the risk. He’s only got one more squad before the Euros. So he knows that. We’ve got belief in what he can do.

“We did discuss (reporting for duty for team meetings), and he was very keen to make it clear: “Look, I don’t want you to think I don’t want to be there”.

Meanwhile, James may only have friendlies against Brazil and Belgium in March to earn his spot back in Southgate’s squad.