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Southgate omits Reece James from England Euro 2024 preliminary squad

Chelsea defender Reece James has been left out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for 2024 European Championship, according to The Athletic.

Injuries have ravaged James’ season, and Southgate will call other right-backs to represent the Three Lions in Germany.

James hasn’t started a Premier League match since November, with his campaign derailed by a recurring hamstring issue. 

He was out for two months at the beginning of the season and then had surgery, which sidelined him for another five months. 

James managed two substitute appearances towards the end of the season but got a deserved red card against Brighton & Hove Albion that kept him out of the final-day win over AFC Bournemouth.

James also missed the 2022 World Cup, with injury denying him a place in the squad. 

James’ Chelsea teammate, left-back Ben Chilwell, is also absent from the preliminary group. Like James, Chilwell has also been battling recurring injury problems and cannot take one of the left-back slots.

The 27-year-old has only started nine league games for the West London club and has looked poor, with the constant injury setbacks taking his best ability – his athleticism.

Raheem Sterling has also not received a call despite rounding out the season with a well-taken goal against the Cherries. He does not make the cut for Southgate, who has an abundance of attacking talent to choose from.

The final 26-man squad will be announced on June 8, and Southgate has left the door open for both players to prove their fitness and form. 

However, they face an uphill battle to regain Southgate’s trust and overcome their injury woes in time for the Euros.

Missing Euro 2024 must be disappointing for James and Chilwell, but it could be a blessing in disguise for their long-term careers. 

Both players have been hampered by injuries this season, and a summer free from international commitments allows them to prioritise an uninterrupted recovery. 

This extended break gives them the crucial time to rebuild their fitness, strength, and confidence without the pressure of high-stakes matches. 

James and Chilwell can focus on a proper pre-season and return to the 2024/25 season fully fit and ready to reclaim their top form. 

A healthy James and Chilwell will be significant assets for Chelsea’s title aspirations and England’s future international endeavours.

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