England manager Gareth Southgate said Chelsea defender Reece James might still drop out of the England squad despite making the 25-man squad for March.

Three Chelsea players; James, Mason Mount, and Conor Gallagher, who is currently on loan at Crystal Palace, make the Three Lions squad for the two friendly fixtures against Switzerland and Cote d’Ivoire.

James is an interesting case considering he has missed the last three Chelsea games due to a muscular injury, having also been out for two months recently due to a similar hamstring injury.

Southgate, surprisingly, decided to leave out Manchester City’s Kyle Walker instead.

Gareth Southgate England Announcement
Photo by Eddie Keogh – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

“With Kyle, I had a long chat with him. We felt this is an opportunity to look at the two younger full-backs [James and Trent Alexander-Arnold],” the England boss said in his press conference on Thursday.

“We know all we need to know about Kyle and he will be back with us for the games in June, and we are very happy with what he has done. 

“But these young full-backs are exciting, we need to give them their opportunities as well.

“There was a little bit of a doubt over a couple of them, and we’ve got still big games to get through across the weekend [at club level], and this squad could change a little bit.

“But as we stand, we thought it was a good opportunity for Trent and Reece.”

England v Romania - International Friendly
Photo by Eddie Keogh – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

While there are always injury risks during international duty, this may arguably be a win-win situation for Chelsea.

If James is still struggling with the injury, he still can withdraw from the squad and recover during the break.

On the other hand, if he is close to being fit, he can then pick up some minutes in friendly games and hopefully regain match fitness before heading back to Chelsea next month.

The Blues will play the FA Cup quarter-final clash against Middlesbrough this weekend before the two-week break.

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