Reece James has undergone a major transformation ahead of his return from injury. The 23-year-old defender suffered a hamstring injury in training last month, with Mauricio Pochettino confirming at the time that he was set to be on the sidelines for a 'few weeks'.
«It's a hamstring – it's not a few days, a few weeks maybe,» said the Blues manager. «I think it's a sad moment because he's our captain, he was so excited to be the captain, full of energy. We are going to assess him day by day. He is going to come back stronger than he was.»
While Chelsea have certainly missed James, Malo Gusto has done an excellent job in his absence. However, the France Under-21 international, who the west Londoners signed from Lyon in January, was issued a red-card against Aston Villa last weekend for a dangerous challenge on Lucas Digne.
Gusto was handed a three-game suspension, serving the first of which against Brighton in the Carabao Cup third round. Therefore, the 20-year-old will miss Chelsea's next two Premier League fixtures against Fulham on October 2 and Burnley on October 7.
With Pochettino short on options at the back, he may be inclined to welcome James back as soon as possible. In fact, according to the Daily Mail, the England international is close to returning to full training.
The report states that he could be ready to 'accelerate' his involvement next week, with the clash against Vincent Kompany's side on described as 'too soon'. Instead, there is 'hope' that James will be ready after the upcoming international break when Chelsea lock horns with Arsenal on October 21.
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