Double injury concern for Blues ahead of new season

Chelsea have been handed a fresh double injury concern as the new Premier League campaign fast approaches.

Reece James withdrew from the England Under-21 squad because of injury and has been replaced by Tariq Lamptey, while Chelsea are also assessing a knee problem Hakim Ziyech picked up during Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Brighton.

Chelsea right-back James, who has previously been troubled by ankle problems, was called up for two European Under-21 Championship qualifiers against Kosovo and Austria.

The extent of his injury is not yet known, but former Chelsea youngster Lamptey, who left west London for Brighton in January, has been drafted in his place.

Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi, Conor Gallagher and Marc Guehi remain part of England’s squad.

James, 20, made 24 league appearances for Frank Lampard’s side last season.

Ziyech, who joined from Ajax in July, impressed on his Blues debut on the south coast and helped set up fellow debutant Timo Werner for Chelsea’s goal in the 1-1 draw.

He went off in the second half with a slight injury, although Lampard said it was a slight twist of the knee and does not believe the problem is a cause for concern.

Chelsea return to the Amex to face Brighton in their Premier League opener on Sunday, September 14.

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