Reece James admits to having grown up idolising Chelsea legends Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Arjen Robben, with the 20-year-old now looking to write his own success story at Stamford Bridge.
A product of the Blues’ academy system has been part of the set-up in west London since 2006. He is currently living the dream as a senior star with the club he supported as a boy.
A breakthrough season is being enjoyed in 2019-20, with a number of home-grown talents being given an opportunity to thrive, with James making the most of his chances. Big things are expected of the England U21 international, with Lampard now helping to lead an exciting talent down a path he once marched down with distinction.
James told Chelsea’s official website of his journey to this point: ‘We moved to west London when I was very young and grew up not too far from Stamford Bridge.
‘It was natural for them to be my team. My brother supported Man United but Lauren (sister) and I were always Chelsea. When I first supported them, it was people like Robben, Drogba, [Petr] Cech and the gaffer that I looked up to.
‘Even now, as my manager, he’s great. He’s a man-to-man manager and he says what he thinks. If he thinks you should be doing more, or even if you’re doing well, he will pull you to a one side and tell you that. I appreciate that about him.
‘The way he’s been around me, and all the players for that matter, is very good.’
James has made 26 appearances for Chelsea this season, scoring two goals, and has drawn comparisons to England legend David Beckham with his delivery from the flanks.
The odd obstacle has had to be overcome in order to nail down a regular role, but impressive progress has been made while putting down solid foundations on which to build future success.
Assessing his season to date, James said: ‘Ever since I’ve been back from injury, it’s been going pretty well for me. Obviously in the early days it was tough getting some minutes because I was still coming back from quite a bad injury, but as the season’s gone on I feel like I’ve gradually got better and improved.
‘This is the club I want to play for and I have worked very hard to get to this point. I always felt that my ability was good enough and I’m just thankful that the gaffer has given me the chance to play.’
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