Southgate: Picking Reece James for England's World Cup squad would be called 'arrogant'

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Reece James 2022-23
Gareth Southgate explained his reasons for not taking injured Reece James to the World Cup, admitting there were "too many unknowns".

WHAT HAPPENED? It emerged the day before England's final 26-player squad was announced that James would not be heading to Qatar, after he confirmed it on his own Instagram. Southgate explained why he didn't pick James, who is nursing a knee injury and continues to work through rehab.

WHAT HE SAID: "There were too many unknowns," Southgate said of leaving James out. "I don't think we can take a player who's not available for the group. That would be deemed arrogant in some circles and you'd be dropping him into a quarter-final."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The 22-year-old likely would've been England's starting right-back, but he suffered a knee ligament injury away to AC Milan in the Champions League in October, leaving him out of action for at least eight weeks. If he were to head to Qatar, the earliest James would've been available was the knockout rounds.

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Reece James Chelsea [injury] 2022-23

Gareth Southgate England 2022-23

Reece James England unhappy 2022

WHAT NEXT FOR JAMES? Unfortunately, all James can do is sit and watch on while continuing to build back to full fitness ahead of the domestic return in December.