England right-back Reece James still has hopes of playing at the World Cup in Qatar next month despite being in the early stages of his recovery from a knee injury.
The 22-year-old defender picked up the injury playing for Premier League side Chelsea in their Champions League clash with AC Milan this month and looked certain to miss the World Cup, which starts on November 20, after being ruled out for eight weeks.
James, who has established himself as England’s first choice with 15 caps, said he will do everything to be fit before manager Gareth Southgate names his squad for the tournament.
“I’ve got to keep working hard over the next few weeks and see where I’m at on call-up day,” James told The Sun. “I will try and I will not be excluded. It happens slowly and at an early stage. I’ve been in rehab for two weeks so I’m still taking it every day.
“The medical staff at Chelsea have not given me a percentage of my chances of coming back for the World Cup. It depends on how I feel closer to the weather and how stable it is.
“It will be very difficult. It’s an injury that can take a long time and come at an inconvenient time, but I’m doing my best and I hope it’s possible, and if it’s not, I know I’ve tried everything.”
England open their World Cup group stage against Iran on November 21.