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England boss Gareth Southgate has hailed Chelsea right-back Reece James as an exceptional player.
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka were omitted from England’s latest squad with Southgate preferring James and Atletico Madrid right-back Kieran Trippier.
Asked to justify his selections, he told the media (via Sky Sports): “There are some areas of the pitch where we’ve got incredible competition for places. It’s simply that we think Reece James and Kieran Trippier have had exceptional seasons with their clubs.”
He added specifically for James: “He was exceptional with us in the autumn [international break]. And his performance (against Atletico Madrid) for Chelsea sort of underlined that, in a top-level game.”