Reece James has not been included in Chelsea’s squad to face Southampton in the Premier League, according to reports.
The 23-year-old has returned from a knee injury and has been making his way back to full fitness following a long-term absence from the side.James played the full 90 minutes on Wednesday night in Germany when Chelsea fell to a 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
It looked likely that James would feature and start for Chelsea against Southampton at Stamford Bridge for their league clash as they look to get back to winning ways immediately.
But according to team news insider ‘C345Sam‘, James is not in the squad to face the Saints in the capital.
Head coach Graham Potter made no indication that the right-back wouldn’t be available during his press conference on Friday after confirming Ben Chilwell and Raheem Sterling were both in contention to feature if training went well in the afternoon
Potter said: “It’s positive. We are going to train later. Providing they come through that okay, good chance they’ll be in squad.”
He was involved in training at Cobham on Friday with the rest of his teammates after he was pictured by Chelsea photographers.
Simon Johnson of The Athletic reports Potter has opted to rest him as they look to manage his minutes ahead of the upcoming fixtures in the coming weeks.
Hakim Ziyech and Marc Cucurella have also not been included in the squad, nor has defender Thiago Silva which could hint Potter is resting players for their game against bottom of the table Southampton.
Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror also claims Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn’t made the matchday squad.
Potter won’t take Southampton lightly despite them being managerless after sacking Nathan Jones last weekend.“You’re not sure at all how they’re going to go.
Anything can come at you pretty much because they’re a caretaker manager and they’ve had a week to prepare and prepare some ideas. What has happened before is no reference, that is the challenge
.“For us, we have to focus on ourselves, what we do well and then prepare and make sure we’re ready for the challenge.
There’s a big challenge coming our way.”