Reece James has yet to play a full-90 this season, but he’s started our last three games and seems to finally getting fully fit for the first time in half a year. After two seasons greatly affected by injury, James being healthy is a wonderful sight ... though also one filled with not inconsiderable trepidation, just waiting for the next blow to come, literally.
But as he comes through each successive game without further injury, there’s hope that he’s over these problems for good — especially as he seems to be approaching the situation much more reasonably now. No signs of the desperate scramble from last year of trying to perform a fitness miracle in time for the World Cup this time around, for example, and that’s a much more viable long-term approach.
Turns out you have to listen to your body even when you’re young and feeling invincible.
“There are times you feel things, but all you want to do is play. Then you push and realise something has happened. My body gave me a warning, but I didn’t listen. I’m more aware now when something is screaming, slow down a bit.”
“I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I definitely feel my strength and fitness building up again. Recently, I’ve been able to play consistently. I haven’t been able to play 90 minutes yet, but I’m training and playing hard, and pushing the limits every day to get back to my best level.
“I’m happy to be helping the team again as well. After almost three months out, it takes a while to build back up and find your form again. Some people think as soon as you come back you should instantly be at the level you left at, but it doesn’t work like that. You have to move slow and steady. That’s what I have been doing. I’m slowly progressing.”
-Reece James; source: Chelsea FC
So that’s great to hear indeed, and so far this approach is working. I’m still concerned about Mauricio Pochettino’s words last month about the club trying our best to avoid corrective surgery for Reecey’s recurring hamstring issues — feel like this could come back to bite us yet — but so far so good.
Let’s hope it continues! (Especially with Malo Gusto now dealing with an injury as well.)