Graham Potter has discussed Reece James’ return for Chelsea ahead of the club’s clash with Bournemouth.
Chelsea resume their Premier League campaign at home to Bournemouth on Tuesday evening and James is expected to feature after using the break in the season to recover from a knee problem.
The right-back has not made an appearance since sustaining the issue against AC Milan in October and missed England’s World Cup campaign as a result.
Potter believes his return will be a huge boost to Chelsea, who are looking to bounce back from a run of three consecutive league losses before the break.
“He was in a really good place before he got injured if you look at how the team was functioning,” Potter told the club’s official website. “Reece is a top player and when he’s not with us, it’s a miss.
“The plan now is to try and help him play his minutes and the next challenge is building them up in the Premier League, which is not an ideal place to do that but he’s got the capacity to do it.
“We just need to be clear and careful with the minutes that he plays but I’m confident that the more football he plays, the more we’ll see what a fantastic player he is.”
Potter opened up on the psychological challenge facing James, who missed out on a first World Cup after picking up an injury just weeks before the tournament in Qatar.
“It’s a World Cup and they only come round every four years,” he said. “When you’re young, the perspective is not so easy to get because you just want to play in the World Cup and that’s really understandable.
|It’s the same for Ben Chilwell and N’Golo Kante. It’s brutal really to have to deal with. I can try to help them and give them a bit of perspective but in the end it has to come from them, their families and the people close to them.
“Thankfully, Reece has got all that in place. He’s done really well, he’s in a good mood and in a good place with us. He trains well, he’s a good team-mate and he’s dealt with it well. He’s been training for a few weeks now and that obviously helps. The best thing is that he’s playing football again and the World Cup has finished now so he can just concentrate on that.”