It’s easy to confuse Reece James for a seasoned veteran while watching him dominate the right flank against some of the best opposition in England and Europe, but the wonderful fact is that he is still just 21 years of age, and just at the very beginning of his professional career.
Then again, this season was his third full senior season already, and the second with Chelsea after one year spent on loan at Wigan Athletic while still a teenager. He’d only go on to win the second division side’s Player of the Year that year of course.
That sort of success, not to mention 50+ Premier League appearances (84 Chelsea games all told) and a Champions League trophy to boot, could make it seem like James was always destined for greatness. But of course such things aren’t just handed out on plates. It’s taken plenty of hard work, determination, and the right circumstances and support as well to get this far.
“Growing up, I always wanted to come through at Chelsea and I always thought I had the ability. The journey has had a lot of ups and downs and it’s been tough.
“I’m very grateful and thankful I’m here. I couldn’t have done it myself, it’s been a collective effort, I’ve had lots of great teammates and coaches. So many people have helped me along the way. It wasn’t easy, like it might’ve looked.
“I didn’t go to Chelsea and just break in straight away. I had to go out on loan, I had many setbacks, and a number of injuries I had to overcome.”
With six caps to his name already, James’ next immediate target is to establish himself as an England regular by continuing his own trophy-winning form into Euro 2020, which starts this weekend.
“I’ve dreamt of this moment for a very long time. It’s the pinnacle, representing your country in a major tournament.”
“This season I’ve played quite a lot of positions, right back and wing-back. I’ve played right of a three as well. I’d probably say anywhere across those three, I’m comfortable.”
“With this group of lads we have, anything is possible. We’ve got so many great players in the team and I don’t see why we can’t do it now.”
-Reece James; source: talkSPORT
Whether at right back, wing-back, or center back, England would do well to find a spot for James as they take on Croatia, Scotland, and the Czech Republic in the group stages.