England begin their World Cup campaign against Iran in Group B on November 21. James is likely to miss that encounter.
However, James is reportedly confident about his chances of being on the plane. He was expected to be in a brace for around four weeks but is now ahead of schedule. He is already reducing his use of the equipment.
Chelsea ruled James out for eight weeks after he sustained a knee injury against AC Milan on October 11.
However, James believes he is a quick healer and will do anything to be fit for the tournament.
He went to Dubai, alongside Wesley Fofana and members of the Chelsea medical department, to continue his rehabilitation. At the moment, he is doing plenty of gym and pool work.
Chelsea are sending concurrent reports to the FA about his fitness and knee stability. Southgate has also called James to speak with him. The manager is putting no pressure on him to return quickly.
Southgate will announce his 26-man team for the tournament next week Thursday. It won’t be surprising to see James listed.
The former Middlesbrough manager has previously selected unfit players for tournaments, notably Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson. He could do it again for James.
Southgate is still sweating on Kyle Walker’s fitness. The Manchester City defender is recovering from groin surgery. Pep Guardiola claims Walker will be fit in time for the tournament.
The England manager also has Trent Alexander-Arnold available and may decide to choose between Walker and James. He will be reluctant to pick two defenders with fitness concerns.
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