Thomas Tuchel has amusingly revealed his surprise at Reece James being included in the England squad, while also telling Ben Chilwell how to respond to being overlooked.
Two Chelsea players have been called up by Gareth Southgate for the October international break. Mason Mount is in the squad, as is James. However, the latter inclusion has caught many by surprise due to his current injury. Blues boss Tuchel has revealed he is of that opinion too.
Speaking at a pre-match press conference, Tuchel said he initially could not believe James was to be summoned for international duty.
“When I saw it, I thought maybe Reece goes with the England water polo team as right now he is training in the pool,” said Tuchel.
“I was a bit surprised but I understood he was selected for the football team, so this will not happen as he is training in the pool right now.
“My last information is that he will not go so it can only be a misunderstanding and nothing else.”
James will, of course, miss Chelsea’s game against Southampton at the weekend. However, Mount is available again after some time out, which Tuchel sees as a big boost.
“Mason is back and it was a minor injury and we are happy he is back,” he said. “It is obviously a given he was picked [for England] and he will give his best for the squad.”
On how much they have missed the midfielder, Tuchel added: “We need to be careful. He had a rough time at Tottenham. It is not time on single players.
“We of course miss Mason. The whole team missed [N’Golo] Kante and Mason, of course that’s why he plays.
“Reece James too? Yes of course. [Christian] Pulisic? Of course. We have a squad and the duty, for me as a coach, to find a solution. It is possible to win games with Mason Mount.”
One man not featuring much at club level, and therefore who won’t be involved with England, is left-back Chilwell.
He has lost his place in the Chelsea side in recent weeks, which has prompted Southgate to snub him for this squad.
Tuchel thinks Chilwell understands the reasons and offered him some advice on what he needs to do under his own guidance.
“It would be nice to be selected,” he said of the former Leicester City man. “He is proud to play for England and has the quality to play for England, but he understands he has to earn it with minutes.
“He has not had too many minutes so he can accept why he hasn’t been selected. Once he plays more for us and plays with quality, he will have the chance.”
Tuchel ready to take on Hasenhuttl
Chelsea started the season strongly but are now looking to bounce back from consecutive 1-0 defeats to Manchester City and Juventus.
Next on the agenda are Southampton, led by a figure Tuchel knows well in Ralph Hasenhuttl.
“We meet each other regularly as we played against each other in the Bundesliga and now here, and we meet at the coaches meetings,” said Tuchel of his opposing number.
“It has been a lot over the years and he is very friendly. He is a very nice guy who is humble and also very funny.
“The teams he trains always have the same philosophy, with high intensity and aggression. It’s about ball recoveries at a very high level.
“They have a very fast team and had good results against both Manchester teams. He is a nice guy but that does not count for 90 minutes.”