Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Reece James felt some discomfort in his hamstrings ahead of Chelsea’s clash with West Ham and, as a result, misses out on selection against West Ham. The German coach says it is not a recurrence of the injury that kept the Cobham star out of action for the early part of 2022 and is a precautionary measure.
Chelsea are already without Mateo Kovacic and Antonio Rudiger, while Trevoh Chalobah has come into the Blues’ starting XI at Stamford Bridge as a late replacement for Andreas Christensen. It will be the 22-year-old’s first start since before the international break.
Tuchel further revealed that Ruben Loftus-Cheek would line up once again as a wing-back in James’ absence. The midfielder impressed in the role against Southampton earlier in April.
Tuchel said: “Reece felt some discomfort in his hamstrings, and so he misses out today. It isn’t a new injury or a recurrence of an old injury. We checked the medical images, and there is absolutely nothing, but he didn’t feel totally comfortable. He felt like something could happen if he took that risk, and we absolutely do not want to have a reinjury, so we’ve taken the safe route today and left him out.
“Not having Reece is a big loss because of his individual quality and what he brings to the team. He’s been in good form as well, so it is a shame to not have him with us today. Especially when we already miss Mateo Kovacic and Toni Rudiger, it is a big loss for us. With Reece individually, having only just come back from injury a short while ago, there really is no choice for us today but to be safe and leave him out.
“He will use this time to have a little bit more time to recover. Ruben will come into right wing-back in his place. He was so strong in that position against Southampton and Real Madrid, and we want him to continue in that form. It allows us to move him out of the midfield because we have Jorgi and N’Golo to play there, and it also means we can move Azpi into one of the three central defensive positions in place of Reece.”
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