Football: 'Fantastic' Gallagher will benefit from England World Cup call, says Potter

Conor Gallagher only made his international debut last year while on loan at Crystal Palace. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON - Chelsea boss Graham Potter said on Friday Conor Gallagher’s call-up to England’s World Cup squad will benefit the promising midfielder and his club in the long-term.

Gallagher only made his international debut last year while on loan at Crystal Palace before returning to Chelsea this term.

The 22-year-old was not part of England’s most recent international camp, but he done enough in 17 appearances for Chelsea this season to convince Three Lions coach Gareth Southgate to take him to Qatar.

Gallagher is likely to start the tournament on the bench, with more established options ahead of him in Southgate’s plans.

“It’s nice for Conor and fantastic for us, great for him, he’s going to have a really positive experience I think,” Potter told reporters.

“Delighted for him, he’s worked really hard and he’s a fantastic person.”

While Gallagher joins club team-mates Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling in the England squad, Blues defender Ben Chilwell and Reece James must watch the World Cup at home due to injuries.

Chilwell pulled up in the closing minutes of Chelsea’s final Champions League group stage match against Dinamo Zagreb, while James sustained a knee injury in October.

Potter admitted the duo were feeling down after failing to recover in time for the World Cup, which starts on November 20.

James might have been fit in time for the World Cup quarter-finals but Southgate didn’t want to take that risk, instead selecting Kyle Walker, who is also injured but expected to return sooner than the Chelsea right-back.

“I think so, I think that’s fair to say,” he said.

“It’s normal, it’s a World Cup, they don’t come around very often so to miss them is disappointing.

“They’re strong characters, they’ll be fine. But they’re disappointed and Reece thought he would be close, did everything he could to give himself a chance and in the end fell a little bit short.

“Obviously I can understand the decision and I understand Reece’s frustration and disappointment.” AFP

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