James set to feature for Chelsea against Newcastle

Right-back looking to play his first pre-season minutes in Atlanta after recovering from illness
Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino is hoping Reece James will be able to play his first pre-season minutes when the Blues face Newcastle United in the second match round of the Premier League Summer Series.

James flew out to the United States later than his Chelsea team-mates because of illness, but has now recovered, and Pochettino is looking to put his right-back in the action in Atlanta.

“Yes, of course it’s good to have him back,” Pochettino told Chelsea’s official website. “He is a very important player for us and it’s good to have a player like him back. Hopefully, tomorrow he can play.”

James is keen to return to action too, after enduring an injury-hit 2022/23 season in which he played only 16 Premier League matches.‘It’s been difficult,” the 23-year-old said on a day when he and his team-mates met fans at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. “Last season, I had a lot of injuries.

“I have not played in three months. But at the moment it is good, and I am finding my feet again.”

Pochettino added that he sees James as captaincy material at Chelsea.

“He is one of the possibilities,” Pochettino said. “We are talking from day one about his objectives and how he was in the last few years at the club.

“He feels Chelsea, he came from the academy. He is one of the profiles, one of players that can be the present and future captain of the club.”

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