Mason Mount has admitted that he was “absolutely gutted” when Reece James picked up an injury that could well rule him out of the World Cup.
James looked set to be a key player for England in Qatar after looking better than ever in the opening matches of the 2022/23 campaign for Chelsea, but disaster struck for the the right-back when he suffered serious knee ligament damage in the Champions League match with AC Milan.
Initial reports on the injury were positive but a second opinion revealed damage which is expected to take up to eight weeks to heal – the World Cup begins in just over four.
When he found out about the extent of the injury, Mount was gutted for his club and country team-mate.
“You know what Reecey brings,” he said. “He has been absolutely brilliant this season. He stepped up and has been one of the best players in the team.
“To see that happen to him, as a very close friend of mine, is gutting to see. I was absolutely gutted for him.”
Mount is all but certain to play for England at the World Cup himself if he manages to avoid injuries between now and then.
However, he’s not actively trying to do so, focusing on giving his all for Chelsea.
“I try not to ever think about not going 100% because I might get injured. I go into every tackle and game 100% but these things happen in football,” he said.
“Look, when you have got a massive World Cup coming up you don’t want it to happen but you have got to stay focused in every game you play. It is massively important for us to win games in the Premier League at this stage and you have got to try to stay fit.
“It is difficult and tough, we’re grinding out these games and hopefully when the World Cup comes around you will be as close to 100% as you can be.”