Reece James did not make Gareth Southgate’s 26-men squad for the World cup due to a knee injury. However, the Chelsea right-back was due to be fully fit during the knockout stage of the World Cup.
James was willing to play with pain for the England National team during the World Cup in Qatar.
Arsenal Icon Paul Merson has slammed Gareth Southgate’s decision not to take Reece James to the World Cup and insisted that Reece James should have been selected and saved for the next round of the World Cup.
Paul Merson added that claimed that the case will have been different if it was Harry Kane, who was injured.
What did Paul Merson say?
The former England playmaker wrote in his column on the Star: “If it was Harry Kane he would be going – what’s the difference? We aren’t going to win the World Cup without having James on the team.
“He is a shoo-in to start and if we took him, he plays in England’s team every day of the week. He is one of our best players.
“If it was Kane, they would say ‘right we’ll take him and use him after the group stages.
“We are as bad as anybody at the back so we need to take one of our best players. I just don’t understand it. He is as important as Kane.’
Paul Merson insisted that England will dearly miss Reece James in the knockout stages when they meet teams like France.
He added: “Reading his statement, he feels like he is going to be fit in a few week’s time,
“I would have only used him in the knockout stages anyway.
“I’d have wrapped him up in cotton wool because you can use Trent Alexander-Arnold in the group stages where you have 70 percent of the ball and he’s going to look a world-beater.
“Then when we come up against France and he falls asleep and Kylian Mbappe scores we’ll all be scratching our heads. I am shocked.
“Having a squad of 26 players gives you a safety net to take a risk and bring an injured player. It’s usually 23 and we still have taken injured players in the past.”
Gareth Southgate has opted for Arsenal’s Ben White. Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Newcastle United’s Kieran Tripper as the right-back option for England at the World Cup.
Reacting to Ben white inclusion in England’s 26-men squad, Mikel Arteta said: “I think he was very happy and the rest of the squad were so happy for him.
“He deserves it, so I’m delighted for him.
“All the credit is down to him. If you look at his career and how far he has come in such a short space of time, really only in the last two years.”
Ben White has slotted in well on the right back for Arsenal this season.