Newly appointed Chelsea captain Reece James has met with a hamstring injury in training right at the start of the new season.
James started for Chelsea against Liverpool on Sunday night and was wearing the armband for the first time after being announced as the official club captain earlier. He played up until the 76th minute but was then substituted off.
The 23-year-old looked to be in discomfort just moments before he came off and many suspected that he had injured himself yet again. Manager Mauricio Pochettino said James was just tired in an interview after the game and the substitution was deemed to be a precautionary measure.
But newer reports emerged that the right-back suffered a hamstring injury in training in the days following the game at Stamford Bridge. Pochettino has now confirmed these reports and has stated that the defender now looks set to be out for a few weeks.
The Argentine coach said: “It’s a hamstring [injury]. It’s not a few days, a few weeks maybe.”
He went on to express his disappointment at the unfortunate injury, saying: “I think it’s a sad moment because he’s our captain, he was so excited to be the captain, full of energy.”
The manager added: “We are going to assess him day by day. Hopefully, he can come back soon and be stronger than he was.”
James missed multiple games at the end of last season with a hamstring injury and has developed a worrying injury record in general. He missed a substantial part of last season through hamstring, knee and thigh injuries and given his young age, the recurrence of a hamstring problem will surely be a matter of great concern at Cobham.
The Blues also received another setback as defender Trevor Chalobah has been reported to have suffered with a hamstring injury as well. This may not be a huge problem as the centre-back may not be part of Pochettino’s first-team plans and may well be on his way out.
But with injuries to Wesley Fofana and Benoit Badiashille, Chalobah’s absence will be more of a concern for the manager as the squad is being thinned out due to fitness issues. New signing Christopher Nkunku also picked up an injury in preseason, adding to the manager’s conundrum.
Chelsea drew 1-1 with Liverpool and put in a great display against the Reds on Sunday. They will now face West Ham United at the weekend with both new signings Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia expected to be involved in some way.
Malo Gusto replaced James against Liverpool and seems to be the most likely replacement for the captain at the right-back spot.