Chelsea wing back Reece James will not play for England in the upcoming international break as he is still not fully fit, manager Thomas Tuchel said on Friday, quipping that he could probably play water polo as he is training in the pool.
James was named in the England squad by Gareth Southgate on Thursday ahead of their World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary but Tuchel said James’ inclusion was due to a misunderstanding between the national team and the club.
“I thought maybe Reece can go for the England water polo team because he’s training in the pool. I was a bit surprised but I understood he was selected for the football team“, Tuchel told reporters ahead of Sunday’s game against Southampton.
“This will not happen. My last information is he will not go, it can only be a misunderstanding and nothing else… It’s normal, it can happen. (Chelsea’s technical advisor) Petr Cech sorted these things out“.
Injured midfielder Mason Mount is also in the England squad and Tuchel said they had to exercise caution, with Chelsea missing his midfield presence in their last two losses against Manchester City and Juventus.
“We need to be careful, he had a rough time at Tottenham (Hotspur)“, he added. “Of course we want Mason, we miss his energy but we cannot start reducing our performances based on players we are missing“.
Tuchel said Chelsea struggled playing different extremes in their last two matches, with City prioritising high pressing and ball possession while Juventus focused on defending deep without possession.
“What we can predict is we play against another extreme team in high pressing now with Southampton. What is most important is to keep a clear head and be well prepared“, Tuchel added.
“We need to respect the quality of our opponents. Also, we were not really bad. We’ve played good matches… We missed a little step from 90% to 100%“.
Tuchel also said there were no hard feelings after Chelsea youth product Tino Livramento made the switch to Southampton where he has been a bright spark this season.
“Of course he was highly rated, we did everything to keep him here, to show him his future and possibilities to compete for a position in our team“, Tuchel said. “He decided to go, it was his decision, you sometimes have to accept“.