helsea have been boosted on their pre-season tour of the United States by the arrival of Reece James.
The England right-back was a surprise omission from Mauricio Pochettino’s original 29-man squad to head across the Atlantic named earlier this week, having been left at home as a precautionary measure after suffering from an unspecified illness.
James subsequently missed the opening fixture of the five-game trip in North Carolina on Wednesday night, when a first-half brace from Ian Maatsen and late goals from new signing Christopher Nkunku, Conor Gallagher and Ben Chilwell secured a 5-0 rout of EFL newcomers Wrexham in Pochettino’s first game in charge.
However, Chelsea had said that the 23-year-old would link-up with his team-mates as soon as he had recovered and that has now happened, with James pictured joining in with training on Friday as the Blues prepared for their next friendly assignment – Saturday night’s Premier League Summer Series clash with familiar opponents Brighton, which is set to see them come up against top transfer target Moises Caicedo at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
It remains to be seen if James will play any part in that game, with his recent bout of illness coupled with a precautionary scan on his knee undertaken ahead of pre-season.
The popular academy graduate ended up missing half of Chelsea’s matches across all competitions during an injury-plagued 2022/23 campaign, suffering knee and hamstring injuries and also missing the World Cup in Qatar.
However, he is now hoping to put those setbacks behind him and re-establish himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet during a fresh era for the club under new manager Pochettino.
After meeting Brighton, Chelsea take on Newcastle in Atlanta on Wednesday night before facing west London rivals Fulham in Landover next Sunday, also part of the Premier League Summer Series.
They conclude their US tour with a clash against Borussia Dortmund in Chicago on August 2 and open the new Premier League season with a high-profile test versus Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on August 13.