Premier league news Reece James on his Chelsea journey and bid to emulate Blues legends at Wembley Last spor news
PremierLeague-News.Com - Reece James is hoping to win his first senior trophy tomorrow when Chelsea take on Leicester City in the FA Cup at Wembley
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Mere seconds is all you need in the company of Reece James to come to an important realisation: the man is hugely different to the player who has become a key figure in Chelsea’s present and future. James is a domineering presence on the pitch. There have been numerous occasions throughout this season the 21-year-old has overpowered opponents, either to win back the ball or simply to prove he can’t be intimated or bullied. There’s also a ruthlessness to his game. On Wednesday night against Arsenal, after Kieran Tierney had been fouled and left crumpled on the Stamford Bridge turf, James appeared irked that a game in which Chelsea were trailing had been halted for the Scot to receive treatment. Take James out of the heat of competition and he is transformed. The Blues academy graduate is softly spoken, modest, perhaps even a little shy. He is also conscious and caring – James continues to volunteer when time allows with The Felix Project, a charity that delivers surplus food to other charities and schools in London. Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will auto-play soon8Cancel Play now "Off the pitch, I'm very different,” James tells football.london with a smile. “I'm chilled and I don't really speak a lot. I'm quite quiet. On the pitch, I'm not the same. I'm sometimes quite angry and aggressive. It's just passion to win, to help the team do as well as possible." That passion has certainly served James well. He has been a Chelsea player since six years old – the Blues spotted him scoring free-kick after free-kick for Kew Park Rangers in the mid-noughties – and a quick glance over the 15 years since would suggest a rather straightforward ascent to stardom. James, a boyhood Blues fan, moved up the academy ranks at Cobham, captained the Under-18s to FA Youth Cup glory in 2018 and was named Academy Player of the Year. The following season was spent on loan at Wigan Athletic. It was James’ first taste of senior football. Away from London, the then 18-year-old excelled. He shone at right-back and then centre midfield. James was the club's Player of the Year and the Player's Player of the Year. He returned to Chelsea in the summer of 2019 and, with the support of Frank Lampard, blossomed into one of the finest young players in the Premier League. He is now a regular at Stamford Bridge and an England international. Read More Related Articles Ashley Cole lifts lid on training ground meeting with Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel Read More Related Articles Chelsea confirm new Nike home shirt for 2021/22 season with a nod to the 60s Was it really so straightforward? Of course not. No journey is without its travails or uncertainties. "Sometimes I look back and think about how fast and how well things have gone for me,” James says. “I've worked very hard to get to where I am and it wouldn't be possible without hard work and dedication.” He adds: “Everyone has tough times and doubts as to whether they think they're going to make it. My toughest time was when I was around 15 or 16 years old, it was around the time of my exams and I wasn't sure I was going to get a contract. So everything was up in the air.” Chelsea were never likely to let James leave. Even among a hugely talented intake, which included Jamie Cumming, Conor Gallagher and Marc Guehi, the full-back stood out. James also played alongside Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Billy Gilmour and Tino Anjorin at youth level. All are now in the first-team squad. It’s a huge achievement, a reward for the fine work and coaching done at academy level at Cobham. Yet were it not for the willingness of Lampard and his assistant Jody Morris to trust the club’s own, it could all be so different. James appreciates that.
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. “I don’t know why that was but Frank as manager helped me and obviously I worked with Jody in the academy, they helped integrate us into the first team and I think that had a massive positive impact.”
Frank Lampard works with Reece James in Chelsea training
(Image: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
He adds: “Frank gave me my debut here and put his belief in me. If it wasn't for him, you could argue I wouldn't be playing now. I am always thankful for what he did for me.” Lampard was sacked by Chelsea at the end of January and replaced by Thomas Tuchel. It was a move taken by the club to kickstart a campaign that had faltered over the previous two months. The change has certainly had the desired effect. Under Tuchel, Chelsea have risen from ninth to fourth in the Premier League and reached the Champions League and FA Cup final, which will be played tomorrow against Leicester City. Yet there was an understandable disappointment from James when Lampard departed. “I was upset because Frank was the one that took me under his wing, introduced me to the first team and gave me the opportunity to play for the club,” he explains.
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“Obviously I was devastated that he was going. But I was also excited that a new opportunity was coming. I didn’t really know what was going to happen, but as time went on, our results turned around and our form picked up and we grew and got stronger as a team.” Chelsea’s results under Tuchel have been impressive: the Blues have lost only three of the 26 games the 47-year-old coach has overseen. Yet it is the next four matches that will define the Blues’ campaign. Win the quartet and the season will be Chelsea’s most successful in almost a decade. And first up is the FA Cup final. The Blues are the most successful side in the competition since the turn of the century; the club have reached ten finals and won six of those. Chelsea legends such as Lampard, John Terry and Didier Drogba were key to many of those successes. Tomorrow at Wembley, James has the opportunity to emulate the players he idolised growing up.
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"I still have a shirt signed by the whole Chelsea team from when I was maybe seven or eight,” he says. “It was a great inspiration growing up as I would look at the shirt every day. “Now I'm in the first team and people are asking for my signature. At the start that was a bit weird but as time has gone on I've got used to it." He adds: "I watched the first team lift many trophies and coming through the academy, we lifted many trophies, played in many finals, and won many competitions. "I think it's part of Chelsea's DNA to win trophies. Hopefully this season we can do so again."
Source = PremierLeague-News.Com