Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed the right-back’s return after a minor knee injury and illness stunted his pre-season preparations.
The Chelsea boss said ahead of the clash in Atlanta: “He is a very important player for us and it’s important to have player like him back. Hopefully, he can play.”
Trevoh Chalobah has overcome a minor Achilles issue that prevented him from facing Brighton last time out. Noni Madueke was held back from that 4-3 win on Saturday after returning from England Under-21s‘ victory at the European Championship.
Levi Colwill, Mykhailo Mudryk and Enzo Fernandez have all been fully reintegrated into the Chelsea first-team and could start at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Pochettino will likely pick a strong side against Eddie Howe’s Newcastle, who qualified for the Champions League through their fourth-placed finish last season.
Kepa Arrizabalaga, Ben Chilwell, Andrey Santos, Conor Gallagher, Raheem Sterling and Christopher Nkunku could all continue in the XI with Malo Gusto likely to start at right-back while James is carefully reintroduced on his return from injury.
Chelsea will hope to give him and Madueke more minutes in their last two pre-season games against Fulham and Dortmund in the United States.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Kepa; Gusto, Silva, Colwill, Chilwell; Enzo, Santos, Gallagher; Sterling, Nkunku, Mudryk
Time and date: 1.15am BST, Thursday July 27, 2023
Venue: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta