Reece James was not included in the latest England squad (Picture: Getty)
The Chelsea captain made his comeback from a serious hamstring injury earlier this month and is gradually working his way back to full fitness.
James had been expected to be included in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the fixtures against North Macedonia and Malta but decided instead to focus on building up his fitness at Cobham over the international break.
Southgate intimated James risked making it harder for himself to force his way back into the England picture as a consequence of his decision, but Pochettino insists it was made with best long-term interests at heart.
‘It’s never the decision of the player,’ said Pochettino ahead of Sunday’s game against Manchester City.
Raheem Sterling was left out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad (Picture: Getty)
‘The medical staff, sports science and coaching staff always take the decisions, not the player. Reece is desperate to go to the national team and I only think this will be good for the national team and Chelsea also.
‘But it’s not a decision by him, he is desperate to go.”
Raheem Sterling was left out again but Pochettino is adamant the experienced winger remains desperate to represent his country.
He said: ‘It is Gareth’s decision and you have to respect that. All the English players are desperate to go to their national team.
‘Sometimes they feel disappointed as they are not in. But the only way to change that is really working hard in your club.
‘Not only Raheem, all of the England players are desperate to go with the England team. The only way to change the situation is to work hard with your club.
‘They are all desperate to be involved. It’s in your hands to perform but not after.’
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The Chelsea pair were not selected in the latest England squad.