How Chelsea finally solved the Reece James puzzle after 17 injuries and 90 missed games

Prior to Saturday’s Premier League match against Arsenal, Reece James is back in full training with Chelsea, however it is unknown if he will be ready to start.

James was initially cleared to play against Burnley before the break despite suffering a hamstring injury on the first day of the season. But he had a setback and had to practice by himself for ten days.

He was viewed as a serious doubt for this weekend’s match against the Gunners until re-joining the team on Wednesday after making good progress in his rehabilitation.

James posted a picture of him smiling in training on Instagram with the caption “against all odds”.

This contributes to a fundamental problem, which is how James’ history of injuries affects him both physically and psychologically. His obvious passion for football makes his absence all the more painful.

Half the battle here is keeping him from his desperate need to play, and the other half is keeping him from the ever-expanding schedule.

He might start to have a little bit less faith in his own body with each injury. Each time, finding the drive to heal gets more difficult. There is always a tipping point.

Of course, a football player’s main objective is to play the game. However, James doesn’t have to suit up for Chelsea in every game to prove his worth.

Is it really that unreasonable if he can be protected for the crucial games and start even half of the 50 or more games Chelsea must play each season (while in Europe)? Would everyone not be satisfied with the result if the pressure that comes with the expectation that he should play every minute were removed?

The Todd Boehly-Clearlake axis has shown they can afford luxury, but a club without sufficient financial resources would not be able to accommodate a player with James’ present injury record.

However unlikely it may seem right now, perhaps James will be able to eventually put his injury issues behind him.Chelsea’s only options are to enjoy life with him while preparing for life without him. When he plays, treat him like a solution.

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