Chelsea starlet Reece James is unlikely to be fit for the start of the new season after picking up an injury while on international duty.
James was stretchered off while playing for England U20s in the Toulon Tournament on Friday and though a scan revealed that the 19-year-old has not broken his ankle as first feared, he has suffered significant ligament damage.
That means the right-back is expected to miss the entirety of the Blues’ pre-season and is likely to be sidelined for up to three months.
James excelled on loan at Wigan Athletic last term and was named in the League One team of the season.
He was previously part of the Chelsea youth team which has won the last five consecutive FA Youth Cups and produced such talents as Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jonathan Panzo.
After returning to Stamford Bridge and training with the first-team ahead of the Europa League final, James is expected to compete with César Azpilicueta for a starting berth in 2019/20.
But this injury set-back may well have dealt a significant blow to the youngster’s chances.