By Sedara Philip
Chelsea captain Reece James is set to miss “a few weeks” after injuring his hamstring in training this week, says manager Mauricio Pochettino.
The 23-year-old has started rehabilitation after doctors assessed the injury.
James started in Chelsea’s season-opening 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday before being substituted in the 77th minute.
“It’s a sad moment because he’s our captain,” said Pochettino.
“He was so excited and full of energy to be our captain. We are going to assess him day by day.
“For sure he’s going to [come back] stronger than he was. It’s a few weeks.”
It is the latest blow for the England international, who only made 16 Premier League appearances last season in a campaign blighted by injury.
James suffered a knee injury in October which ruled him out of England’s 2022 World Cup squad, before being ruled out for a further four weeks after the injury resurfaced during his first game back in December.
James also missed the final seven games of Chelsea’s season with a hamstring problem as the Blues finished 12th.
James, who progressed through Chelsea’s academy before making his debut in 2019 after a season on loan at Wigan, was made club captain this summer following the departure of fellow defender Cesar Azpilicueta.
Speaking before Chelsea travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday, Pochettino also congratulated the club’s owners and sporting directors following the £100m signing of midfielder Moises Caicedo from Brighton. on Monday and the £58m capture of fellow midfielder Romeo Lavia from Southampton on Friday.
“The club worked really really hard about that. I have to congratulate the owners and the sporting directors Laurence [Stewart] and Paul [Winstanley] because the deal was amazing,” said Pochettino.
“To add these type of players like Moises or Romeo and all the players signing, I think it was fantastic work from the club and I think we need to congratulate the job they are doing.”
It has been a summer of transition at Chelsea with nine incomings and 12 departures in total, with Pochettino adding he is pleased with the current size of his squad.
“I think it’s good. No bigger than we have now,” he said.
“We can add some players but not many. This number of 22, 23 players I think is perfect at the moment.”