Gary Neville sends clear Ben Chilwell and Reece James message to Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea management

Gary Neville sends brutal Reece James and Ben Chilwell message to Chelsea and Mauricio Pochettino

Gary Neville has advised Chelsea to have a “plan” for Reece James and Ben Chilwell not being available due to injury.

The Blues duo have missed large portions of the season through injury, which has forced Mauricio Pochettino to make frequent changes in defence. James has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since November, while Chilwell is out with a knee injury.

So far this season, James has missed a total of 32 matches for Chelsea through injury, while Chilwell has now missed 19 following the clash against Newcastle on Monday Night Football. James was installed as Chelsea club captain last summer, while Chilwell was named vice-captain following the departure of Cesar Azpilicueta last summer.

Neville was working as a co-commentator for Sky Sports’ coverage of Chelsea’s clash against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge on Monday night. The former Manchester United captain was asked about Chelsea’s current injury situation, which also has several other defenders on the sidelines including Levi Colwill, Benoit Badiashile, Thiago Silva and Wesley Fofana, as well as James and Chilwell.

Neville was asked about Chelsea dealing with key players on the sidelines and spoke specifically about James and Chilwell. The Man United legend argued why the club must “plan” for the duo to miss large portions of a campaign until their respective fitness proves otherwise.

“We have got to stop talking about it,” said Neville while on commentary for Sky Sports, when asked about James and Chilwell’s injury records. “They [James and Chilwell] are players that will always be injured so Chelsea have to plan for that.

“They [Chelsea] have got to bake it in until they prove over two or three seasons that they can stay clear of it.”

Pochettino started Marc Cucurella and Malo Gusto at full-back for Chelsea in the win over Newcastle. And former Manchester United captain Neville seems to think Chelsea have found a solution on the right side in Gusto.

He added: “I really like Gusto. I think he has done fantastically well. I think Gusto has got to a point now where he is playing at such a level, yes James has a better delivery but Gusto is playing at a seven or eight out of 10 every week.”

It remains to be seen when James and Chilwell will be back available from their respective injuries, with the Blues next in action against Leicester City in the quarter-final of the FA Cup at the weekend.

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