Chelsea and England defender Reece James has released an emotional statement after it was confirmed that he will miss the World Cup through injury.

The Blues right-back, 22, has not yet featured at a senior World Cup for England, and was regarded as a certainty to be named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for Qatar.

James started both of England’s recent Nations League clashes against Italy and Germany – a sure-fire sign that he was very much in Southgate’s thoughts to start the opening game in Qatar.

But everything changed when the 22-year-old suffered a knee injury in the 2-0 Champions League win against AC Milan on October 11.

With just a month until the full 26-man squad was named, James faced a race against time.

But he refused to rule himself out of contention, and told The Sun on October 29 that he was still hopeful of proving his fitness to Southgate.

However, the injury will cause him to miss the World Cup, news which was confirmed on Wednesday morning.

And following the devastating news, James posted a heartfelt statement on his social media accounts.

Reece James responds to missing out on World Cup

Taking to Twitter, James wrote: “Devastated. The minute I injured my knee, I knew the turn around to make the World Cup would be tight, but I also 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 & sending love.”

The outcome is a major blow for James, but at 22, and currently playing some of his best football, there will doubtless be more chances to represent his country at the biggest football tournament on the planet.

He will now focus on returning to full fitness in time for Chelsea’s clash against Bournemouth on December 27 – the first game back in action for Graham Potter’s side after the lengthy World Cup break.