Among the 26 players headed to Qatar are some obvious picks Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, John Stones etc.
The 22-year-old had been in incredible form prior to sustaining a knee injury against AC Milan last month, which ended up sidelining him for a reported 8 weeks. Following the news, many expected that the player’s absence from the World Cup was all but confirmed.
However, James kept pushing and reportedly pressed to be included in the travelling squad, as his recovery period seemed to line up with the latter stages of the tournament.
Unfortunately for him, Southgate opted to take a risk-averse approach, saying, ‘There were too many unknowns. I don’t think we can take a player who’s not available for the group. That would be deemed arrogant in some circles and you’d be dropping him into a quarter-final.’
Naturally, the snub didn’t go down well with James, who made his feelings apparent through some very cheeky social media activity.
It all started off with a tweet relaying pundit Paul Merson’s comments on the whole situation.
The 54-year-old was very outspoken against the England gaffer’s decision, he said ‘I don’t see us winning the World Cup without Reece James in it.’
‘I just find it weird that Gareth Southgate is willing to gamble on Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker but not on Reece James? If it was Harry Kane, he would be going – What’s the difference?’
The pundit raised some valid points, and James himself seemed to agree as he liked a tweet bearing his words through his official account on Twitter.
To really affirm his anti-Southgate stance, the fullback commented on the post of another notable Southgate snub, Ivan Toney.
The Brentford striker has impressed fans and pundits with his performances over the last 2 years, and his credentials were certainly worthy enough of a World Cup spot.
However, the England boss thought otherwise, and Toney responded in the perfect manner.
He scored a brilliant brace against Manchester City, earning 3 valuable points for his side and showing off exactly why he deserved a seat on the plane to Qatar.
Following the game, Toney posted an image of his goal celebration on Instagram, and James quickly popped up in his comments.
Ushering in his inner Jose Mourinho, the fullback commented, ‘If I speak im in big trouble.’
No amount of deduction is required to figure out that his words were aimed directly at Southgate, the Chelsea man is clearly not a fan of the England boss.