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James’ redemption turns to devastation over Nations League ban

November 13, 2020

Reece James admits playing the full 90 minutes for England against the Republic of Ireland was the perfect way to bounce back from his red card.

The 20-year-old was sent off for the Three Lions when England went down 1-0 to Denmark last time out. He was given his marching orders after the final whistle but still called up for the November internationals.

The Chelsea ace is banned for Sunday’s Nations League trip to Belgium and the clash with Iceland on Wednesday. However, he was given the nod to take on the Irish at Wembley, with the hosts running out 3-0 winners.

Harry Maguire, Jaden Sancho and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the goals in the friendly encounter. James was delighted to be part of the squad and is determined not to make the same mistake again.

“It is obviously a very good confidence-booster,” he said. “It shows that he still wanted me here and still believes in me.

“Obviously I will take the red card from last time and I will learn from it and move on and hopefully it will have a positive impact in the long run.”

Southgate fielded a virtual second string side in north London with the Belgium game in mind.

England’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals rest on the next two matches. They are locked together on seven points with Denmark while Belgium are two points better off.

It is likely that Southgate’s side will need to win both games to progress. James is frustrated that he will not be able to influence proceedings.

“I’m obviously devastated that I can’t play in the next two games but it is a mistake I need to learn from and keep on progressing,” he added.

Young lions roar

Thursday’s triumph over Ireland gave the England chief food for thought with next year’s European Championship on the horizon. There are any number of excellent young players looking to stake a claim for a place in the squad.

Jude Bellingham became England’s third-youngest full international at 17 years and 137 days. Now at Borussia Dortmund, the youngster has been tipped for the top and featured for 17 minutes at Wembley.

Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish enhanced his growing reputation with another solid display in midfield. The 25-year-old was at the heart of much of England’s creativity although he was up against an ordinary Ireland team.

It remains to be seen if he is part of the future side but Southgate was full of praise.

“He’s in really good form and he’s playing in the areas we want him to play, not coming too deep and affecting the game in the final third,” he said. “Some of the interplay down the left was really exciting.”

Scotland’s penalty shootout victory over Serbia means they will face England at the delayed Euro 2020 Finals.

 

READ MORE: Southgate’s awkward Klopp call

 

 

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