REECE JAMES has admitted he is "devastated" after it was confirmed that he will miss the World Cup in Qatar through injury.
The Chelsea ace worked tirelessly to recover from a knee injury sustained against AC Milan in time to make Gareth Southgate's squad.
But after SunSport revealed that Southgate informed James he would not be picked for Qatar, the full-back has broken his silence.
In a statement published to Twitter, he wrote: "Devastated.
"The minute I injured my knee, I knew the turn around to make the World Cup would be tight, but I always felt it was possible.
"I've worked harder than I ever thought I could to give myself the best chance of going and I truly believed I could help the team.
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"I appreciate there was risk on both sides but it was one I was willing to take.
"Good luck to the boys. I'll be back soon. Stay safe & sending love."
A positive scan on Monday increased the defender’s belief he could be back for the knockout stages — and James ran on grass at Chelsea’s Cobham base for the first time since his operation.
But Southgate rang the Blues ace to deliver the bad news in person, telling him he could not afford to take a risk on his fitness.
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A source told SunSport: "Reece was confident he would be OK by the start of December.
“But Gareth decided he could not take the gamble.
“It is devastating news for Reece because he believed he would be OK.”
James suffered his injury against AC Milan on October 11 and was always facing a tough race.
Southgate names his 26-man squad for the tournament tomorrow, with England kicking off against Iran on November 21 and facing a potential second-round tie on December 4.
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