Reece James might look more and more like a seasoned veteran whenever he plays for Chelsea or the England national team, even if he is, in fact, still a few weeks away from his 21st birthday.
So when a bit of immaturity crept into his game after the final whistle in a 1-0 loss to Denmark in the Nations League last month, it was only surprising because of his otherwise impeccable professionalism at such a young age. The frustrated defender did not hold back in giving a piece of his mind to the referee after a match full of poor decisions, but the only thing that accomplished was a two-match ban for Reece from UEFA.
Fortunately, the ban only applies to competitive matches, so the young right back was eligible to play in the friendly against Republic of Ireland earlier this week. Getting the call-up despite the ban speaks volumes of James’ abilities, and of the trust he’s already earned from the England coaching staff.
“[Being back in England’s squad] is a very good confidence-booster. It shows that [Southgate] still wanted me here and still believes in me.
“I will take the red card from last time and I will learn from it and move on and hopefully it will have a positive impact in the long run. I’m obviously devastated that I can’t play in the next two games but it is a mistake I need to learn from and keep on progressing.”
That trust was duly rewarded, as Reece was (once again) one of the best players on the pitch in 3-0 win, able to support England’s attacking moves on the right flank while keeping things tight at the back, even when he was slotted in as the right-sided centre back in a three-man backline.
“It was a very good victory. A good team performance and it helps us build momentum into the next games coming up. We won in style, scoring a number of goals and keeping a clean sheet helps the team build confidence.”
-Reece James; source: Chelsea FC
James might feel a bit down in having to miss the rest of England’s games in this break, but at least this way he’ll be well rested for Chelsea — and that’s just fine by us.