ChelseaSport

Chelsea striker sweating on World Cup final starting spot

Lauren James will be sweating on the decision of England manager Sarina Wiegman as the Lionesses prepare to face Spain in the World Cup final.

England defeated hosts Australia 3-1 on Wednesday to book their spot in their first World Cup final.

But Chelsea forward James received a red card and a match ban, extended to two by FIFA for the offence’s ‘violent nature’ following her sending off for stamping on Nigeria defender Michelle Alozie in the last-16 match.

James’ replacement Ella Toone scored England’s opener against the Aussies. Chelsea striker Sam Kerr levelled the match with a scorcher of a long-range effort before Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo, a Charlton fan, finished off the opposition.

James has apologised for the red card and “promised to learn from my experience”. Whether Wiegman will accept that apology will be the subject of speculation for the next 48 hours.

James had been the star of the England camp, scoring twice and setting up three goals for the Lionesses, before her suspension and those performances should count in her favour.

If England win, there will be four World Cup winners in the Chelsea squad – skipper Millie Bright, Jess Carter and Niamh Charles make up the quartet.

James’s brother Reece made family history at the weekend by captaining the men’s side for the first time.

The Blues opened their Premier League campaign with an entertaining 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge against Liverpool. They head to West Ham on Sunday afternoon.

The Blues could have three more new signings in the squad by the end of next week.

Moises Caicedo has made his protracted £115million move from Brighton, while Romeo Lavia is expected to transfer from Southampton in a £55m deal.

Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise has been tempted by the prospect of returning to Chelsea where he was a youth player. No deal is expected before the back end of next week with the Eagles unimpressed by Chelsea’s handling of the affair.

These incomings puts serious doubt on the future of midfielder Conor Gallagher.

Newcastle United are keen to land the box-to-box player, and it did not look great when Gallagher went straight down the tunnel after the Liverpool match – suggesting he knew the game was up on his Chelsea career.

England U21 Noni Madueke could quickly find himself down the pecking order if Olise makes the move to SW6.

The Barnet-born winger was signed from PSV in January for £29m and has scored one goal, against Arsenal, in 12 appearances for the Blues.

Also out the door before the transfer window ends on September 1 will be Hakim Ziyech, Romelu Lukaku  and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Ziyech is earmarked to replace Neymar at PSG while Lukaku is keen to join Juventus. Hudson-Odoi has a number of suitors with Fulham making a recent inquiry for the winger.

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