Thomas Tuchel admitted he was surprised by the call to the England national team that one of his players, Reece James , got for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. The Chelsea manager’s reaction was understandable because James is currently suffering from an ankle injury.
James only lasted on the Stamford Bridge pitch for less than half an hour before being replaced by Thiago Silva in the match against Manchester City on Saturday (25/09/2021). Finally he had to miss the Chelsea visit to Juventus five days later.
Tuchel is allegedly not even able to play the 21-year-old right-back in the party against Southampton on Saturday (02/10/2021). Cesar Azpilicueta will temporarily be returned to his original position as fullback.
Therefore, Tuchel has the right to be surprised by Gareth Southgate’s decision as England boss . The German coach even made a sarcastic comment that James was called to play water polo instead of football because he was only able to train in the pool at this time.
“Did Reece go to the England national team with my blessing? Maybe not but I then thought that it could be for water polo. Right now he is only allowed to train in the pool,” said Tuchel.
“Before I thought that Reece wouldn’t be summoned. I don’t know, maybe the information I got was inaccurate,”
“Honestly I was a little surprised but I know that Reece under normal conditions will always be called up. If the training load still has to be reduced by being in the water it shouldn’t be necessary,” added the former Borussia Dortmund boss.
England will face Andorra and Hungary in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers for the European zone in Group I. So far, the Three Lions have been pretty smooth with five wins from six matchdays that have put them at the top of the standings ahead of Poland and Albania.
Therefore, the summons of James seemed more forced. Moreover, Southgate already has Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker for right-back posts.
James himself did perform quite well with Chelsea in 2021/2022. From six matches in all competitions, the owner of eight England caps reaped one goal and three assists, although he had also received a direct red card once.