James joins Chelsea’s pre-season squad in America

Reece James has joined Chelsea’s squad in the United States.

James did not travel with the squad because of illness, but boss Mauricio Pochettino confirmed after the 5-0 win over Wrexham in North Carolina that the England defender was expected to fly out.

Chelsea are next in action on Saturday, when they face Brighton in Philadelphia.

“I think he’s flying soon. I think he’ll be with the team soon,” Pochettino said.

And James duly arrived on Friday morning.

Pochettino praised Chelsea’s youngsters after a comfortable win in his first match in charge.

Academy product Ian Maatsen scored twice and a number of other young players featured for the Blues.

New signing Christopher Nkunku scored on his debut and there were also goals for Conor Gallagher and Ben Chilwell.

Asked if the likes of Maatsen might be part of his squad for the coming season rather than moved elsewhere, Pochettino said: “There are players we need to assess and see what happens with them.

“There are many decisions we need to take, but it’s good to have the opportunity to see all these guys.

“I think it’s important for them and us to have a real assessment. All have quality – they need time to show that they can compete for a place at this club.

“I am happy with all of them. It’s always difficult in the first game. We’ll see what goes on and when we’re back in England we will decide the future of these young players.”

It was an encouraging first outing for Chelsea under Pochettino, who liked what he saw.

He said: “I’m happy with the attitude. It’s part of the process in pre-season to learn in the way we want to play and to build the physical condition.

“I am happy with the performance. Keep going. The most important thing is to get good feelings.”