As a result of the heavily congested fixture schedule to accommodate this year’s winter World Cup, almost every Premier League and top European team has found themselves affected by injuries.
Here are some of the biggest star casualties who are due to miss the World Cup – which of these players will be missed most at the tournament?
- Reece James
Reece James is the latest footballer to agonisingly miss out on a place at the 2022 World Cup, the Chelsea and England defender confirmed himself on Twitter.
After suffering a knee injury against A.C. Milan, discussions between James and England manager, Gareth Southgate concluded that the Chelsea full back would be in no condition to compete with the Three Lions in Qatar.
However, the 22-year-old who played a big role in the England team who reached the Euro 2020 final last summer, is not the only prolific star set to miss out on a spot at the World Cup due to injury.
The right-back’s recent knee injury is certainly a huge blow to England, with the 22-year-old Chelsea defender becoming a very prominent part of Gareth Southgate’s side in recent years.
However, the Three Lions do find themselves fortunate enough to have other options in the right-back position, with Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier the leading candidates to start there in Qatar.
- Ben Chilwell
It’s not just at the right side of defence where Chelsea and England are suffering injury woes, as left-back Ben Chilwell has also picked up an injury that will rule him out of the World Cup.
The 25-year-old who has 17 England caps to his name, suffered a hamstring injury in Chelsea’s recent 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League.
- N’Golo Kanté
There’s just no luck for Chelsea players heading into this year’s World Cup, as French central midfielder, N’Golo Kanté also finds himself on the injury table.
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Kanté featured in the France starting lineup that was victorious in the final at the previous World Cup in 2018, but despite making 53 appearances for France in total, he is due to miss the 2022 World Cup altogether with a hamstring injury.
- Paul Pogba
In more heartbreaking news for France, Kanté’s midfield partner at the 2018 World Cup, Paul Pogba is also due to miss this year’s tournament through injury.
The 29-year-old who transferred from Manchester United to Juventus earlier this year, is struggling with a persistent knee injury, and will certainly be a huge loss to the France team.
- Raphaël Varane
France’s problems don’t stop there, as another key player in the nation’s 2018 World Cup triumph, Raphaël Varane, has also been ruled out after suffering a leg injury.
The centre-back who moved to Manchester United in the summer appeared understandably heartbroken as he exited the pitch with a leg injury during his team’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea.
After a frustrating spell in the Premier League with Chelsea, Germany striker Timo Werner may have been feeling optimistic about his international prospects, following his return to RB Leipzig and a return to form.
Sadly, the 26-year-old who has 24 goals for Germany so far, suffered a torn syndesmotic ligament which ruled him out of playing at the upcoming tournament.
- Emile Smith Rowe
Arsenal’s attacking midfielder is another star who had his England World Cup hopes blown by an unfortunate injury.
The talented 22-year-old is set to have a big future for both club and country, however a persistent groin injury meant that Smith Rowe required surgery back in September, ruling him out of contention for a spot in Southgate’s 26-man squad.
- Ricardo Pereira
The Leicester City and Portugal right-back’s career has been sadly plagued by injuries, and a rupture to his right achilles in pre-season has ruled him out of the 2022 World Cup.
The time when the World Cup is taking place will be used as a period of rest for Ricardo Pereira, but Leicester City fans may still have to wait until February before the right-back returns to the pitch.
- Diogo Jota
Perhaps an even more crushing blow for Portugal’s World Cup prospects is the absence of Liverpool striker, Diogo Jota, who suffered a serious calf injury during his side’s 1-0 win over Manchester City.
While Portugal have no shortage of attacking options, the 10 goals in 29 appearances that Diogo Jota has accumulated for Portugal so far will certainly be missed at this tournament.