Graham Potter discusses player fitness and international call-ups ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League match this weekend…

Squad selection for the World Cup has been high on the football news agenda this week and with many Chelsea players chosen by their nations for Qatar 2022 but others missing out, it is a subject that was raised in Graham Potter’s pre-match media conference at Cobham on Friday afternoon.

Newcastle vs Chelsea Reece James injury update

Two players who missed out on the England 26-player squad are Reece James and Ben Chilwell due to a knee and a hamstring injury respectively. James expressed his disappointment publicly when he learned the news ahead of Gareth Southgate’s announcement yesterday and the emotions are something Potter empathises with.

‘It's a natural reaction, isn't it?’ our head coach said. ‘Reece thought he would be close, he did everything he could to give himself a chance but in the end fell a little bit short. I can understand the decision and understand Reece's frustration and disappointment, and now we just to try to focus on the rehab and get them back as soon as we can.

‘It's a World Cup and they don’t happen very often, to miss them is disappointing, but they're strong characters. They'll be fine.

‘If you're going to look on the positive, there’s now time to do the rehab as thoroughly as possible without a timescale hanging over them. They can focus on that and then we have them hopefully for when we restart and they're back fit and strong and well.’

Newcastle vs Chelsea Kepa injury update

Although Cesar Azpilicueta has made the Spain squad, Kepa Arrizabalaga is not included. He has been out with a plantar fascia problem in his foot. Potter was asked if he knows whether the goalkeeper would have been called up by Spain had it not been for the injury.

‘I have no idea,’ responded Potter, ‘but he’s not training so it's not possible.’

Newcastle vs Chelsea Jorginho injury update

There was better injury news on vice-captain Jorginho who was not involved at Man City midweek due to a foot problem.

‘Jorgi trained today,’ reported Potter, ‘so providing there's no reaction he should be in the squad [for Newcastle]. There is nothing else to report in terms of returnees.’

Glad for Gallagher

While James and Chilwell may be missing the World Cup, Conor Gallagher was named in the England party along with the expected pair of Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling.

‘It’s fantastic for us, great for him,’ smiles Potter ‘He's going to have a really positive experience and I’m delighted for him, he's worked really hard. He's a fantastic person.

‘It's a nice story. He’s been out on loan, he’s come through the club, and to get a chance to play in a World Cup is great news.

On the flip side, two other Chelsea players believed to have been under consideration, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Trevoh Chalobah, did not make the cut.

‘We had a brief conversation,’ said our head coach, ‘but they're both level-headed guys. They both understand and are very respectful. They understand the decision is not an easy one. They thought they might have a chance but that's life, they accept it, but with the other two, Ben and Reece, there is naturally disappointment because they had half-an-eye on going.’

Newcastle vs Chelsea injury list

Wesley Fofana remains out with a knee problem, as do N'Golo Kante and Carney Chukwuemeka following hamstring injuries.

Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson is a doubt due to illness. Ryan Fraser is another doubt with a calf problem.

Newcastle vs Chelsea suspension

There are no suspensions for this game.

In the Premier League, five yellow cards received before 19 league fixtures (January 2023) have been played will result in a one-match suspension in the competition.

  • Premier League booking list

    Chelsea: Havertz 3, James 3, R Sterling 3, Azpilicueta 2, Cucurella 2, Jorginho 2, Kovacic 2, Mount 2, Aubameyang 1, Chalobah 1, Chilwell 1, Gallagher 1, Koulibaly 1, Loftus-Cheek 1, Mendy 1, Pulisic 1, Thiago Silva 1

Newcastle vs Chelsea referee and VAR

Referee: Robert Jones
VAR: Andy Madley

Robert Jones is refereeing Chelsea for the second time in under a month. He was the official when we defeated Aston Villa away 2-0.