Wigan Athletic old-boy 'devastated' as World Cup dream crushed
Devastated Chelsea and England right-back Reece James has confirmed he will not be going to the World Cup.
The 22-year-old former Wigan Athletic loanee started the Three Lions' last four matches and was a shoo-in for Qatar until sustaining a knee injury in the Champions League match against AC Milan on October 11.
Chelsea announced James was facing an eight-week lay-off - a timescale that would mean a return around the World Cup quarter-final stage.
James said at the time "the race against time is on" and vowed not to give up, but he has now confirmed he will not be in England's 26-man squad after speaking to manager Gareth Southgate.
"Devastated," 15-cap England international James posted on Twitter.
"The minute I injured my knee, I knew the turn around to make the World Cup would be tight, but I always felt it was possible.
"I've worked harder than I ever thought I could to give myself the best chance of going and truly believed I could help the team.
"I appreciate there was risk on both sides but it was one I was willing to take.
"Good luck to the boys. I'll be back soon. Stay safe and sending love."
James spent the 2018-19 campaign with Latics, helping them consolidate in the Championship after winning the League One title the previous campaign.
Despite not having played a single senior game prior to his arrival, he won all-but one of the player of the month awards, and swept the board for the player of the year awards.