Reece James began the World Cup break with a massive frown thanks to the disappointment of missing the tournament through a last-minute injury, but six weeks later, as the Premier League returns, he’s also set to return. He even got his smile back.
What he hasn’t got fully back yet however is his fitness, despite training with the team for the past few weeks and also featuring for an hour in the recent behind-closed-doors friendly against Brentford.
He may be available for selection, but as manager Graham Potter mentioned in the pre-match press conference, it may take a while yet for James to return to his previous levels.
“He’s been training for a few weeks now and that helps. The tough time is when you can’t play football because you’re injured. And there’s a World Cup going on, it’s a reminder even more so of what you are missing. For him, the best thing is that he is playing football and the World Cup is finished now and he can concentrate on playing football.
“He was in a really good place before he got injured. If you look at how the team was functioning before he got injured and after. It’s not the only reason of course but Reece is a top, top player and when he is not with us it’s a miss. I am confident the more football he plays the more we will see what a fantastic footballer he really is.”
-Graham Potter; source: Independent
Even a half-fit James should be a boon to us, so hopefully he doesn’t aggravate something as he finishes his rehab in a most active way possible.