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Reece James: An In Depth Look At One Of Chelsea’s Brightest Young Stars

A lot of Chelsea supporters have been excited about Reece James’s development this season, and rightly so.

The right-back has excelled for Wigan out on loan, being named in the Championship’s team of the season following a consistent campaign in a struggling team.

James has been with the Blues since the age of six and has made his way through the youth ranks at Cobham, as well as playing for England at Under 18, Under 19 and Under 20 levels.

Until this season, he hadn’t played any senior football, but after signing a new four-year contract with Chelsea, he was given the chance by Latics manager Paul Cook.

It was immediately obvious that James had what it takes to deal with the physicality of the second tier of English football. The teenager already has the strength and ability to muscle people off the ball as well as the anticipation to intercept passes.

Consequently, he started the first game of the season against Sheffield Wednesday and only failed to start two matches throughout the rest of the campaign.

Reece James

James made 91 successful tackles in the Championship last season, making 38 interceptions and blocking 54 shots. He is also no slouch in the air, having won 83 aerial duels.

His defensive qualities then led Paul Cook to move him into a holding midfield role for the final ten games of the season, showing his versatility as a player.

James’ qualities are not restricted to the defensive third either, he is able to drive forward to make penetrative forward runs, and he can chip in with a goal or two.

He scored three goals and provided three assists in the league for Wigan, including a fantastic long-range strike against Bristol City. With the added ability to hit free kicks, you have to believe there is more to come from the defender in the attacking third of the pitch.

Considering Chelsea’s transfer ban, James’ return to Stamford Bridge should see him get some game time for the first team. Manager Maurizio Sarri has shown already that he has the 19-year-old in his thoughts.

The Italian played the young fullback in last week’s friendly against New England Revolution and the defender said he was “proud” to make his debut:

Blues fans will be hoping James makes his first competitive appearance sooner rather than later after impressing everyone during his loan spell in the Championship.

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