Reece James receives classy messages from Rafael Leao, Jack Grealish and KSI as the captain returns

Reece James receives classy messages from Rafael Leao, Jack Grealish and KSI as the captain returns

Reece James has been bombarded with messages following his return from the treatment room. The 24-year-old defender led Chelsea to victory over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Saturday afternoon, providing Nicolas Jackson with the match-winning assist.

He suffered a hamstring injury on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season, missing the Blues’ next seven games. James was eventually reintroduced towards the end of October, captaining Chelsea to a 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur and a 4-4 draw against Manchester City.

Then, in December, he suffered a reoccurrence of his ongoing hamstring problems. After much deliberation, the England international opted for surgery in a bid to finally rid himself of any more muscle issues, ruling himself out for a further five months.

While Malo Gusto impressed at right-back, the west Londoners certainly suffered in James’ absence. As the Cobham graduate looks to build his match fitness, Mauricio Pochettino granted him a few minutes against Nottingham Forest at the weekend.

James replaced Conor Gallagher in the 79th minute while Chelsea trailed 2-1. Just seconds after his introduction, Raheem Sterling found the Blues an equaliser with a brilliantly curled effort into the far corner.

Then, only a couple of minutes later, Moises Caicedo unleashed James behind Nuno Espirito Santo’s backline with a brilliant pass. The Chelsea captain then lifted the ball over to the back post, finding Jackson, who nodded the visitors ahead.

After the game, James marked the victory with a celebratory post on Instagram – which chalked up almost half a million likes in just 12 hours. He wrote: “Wow… soooo good to be back out there with my brothers, I missed that feeling! Enjoy your weekend [tongue out emoji].”

Friends, family and his Chelsea teammates flooded the comment section with classy messages of support. Jack Grealish, Rafael Leao, Dominic Solanke, Jadon Sancho and Patrick Kluivert also showered James with praise, as well as KSI, Chunkz, Jack Harlow and AJ Tracey.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Pochettino was quizzed on his captain’s display. The Blues boss said: “Massive. It’s unlucky there are only two games ahead and it’s one week.

“It is important for him to recover for his feelings and he is such an important player for us. He is our captain. We all love him. Yes, important, and to see whether he will be fit and have a chance of making the Euros.”

Then, when asked if he thinks James could make Gareth Southgate’s squad, Pochettino added: “We have one more week to work. He is doing well in the training sessions.

“After four or five months, he’s not the same to train and compete but if he has the possibility to do that in the next two games, and if his coach in the national team believes he can cope with the competition. I think he will be ready.”

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