Following the announcement that Lauren James has joined Chelsea Women, her brother and men’s team wing-back Reece fills us in on what kind of player we have added to our squad.
Lauren completed her move from Manchester United on Friday, agreeing a four-year contract with the Blues, returning to the club she played for from Under-10s to Under-14s level in the Academy. She joins her older brother Reece at Chelsea, who first trained here at the age of six and has been part of the men’s first-team squad for the past two seasons.
Chelsea Women open their WSL campaign against Arsenal at the start of September but, in the meantime, we recall what Reece said about Lauren in an interview with the Chelsea matchday programme a couple of weeks ago.
‘She’s an attacking player – direct, strong, powerful, can play with both feet,’ he said. ‘She’s got a few skills as well. I’m really proud of where she’s got to and I know she can still go so much further. I know that, with time, she’ll push on much more.’
However, it is no surprise for Reece to see his sister enjoying success in the game, having been impressed by her ability as they grew up training and playing together, along with the oldest of the three James siblings, Josh.
‘I hadn’t seen many better players than her. Whenever we played together, I was always quite impressed. She played in the boys’ games all the time when I was younger – whenever I trained, she would train as well.'
He also believes that time spent playing together as youngsters helped them to develop their talents and set them on the path to professional football.
‘We grew up as a three. Obviously, my older brother Josh learned from my dad and then it just passed its way down. I started playing because my brother played, and my sister played because I played. We all used to play every day together at the park and over time we all gradually got better.
‘When we were young it was just a case of play with the ball, play as much as you can, and learn as much as you can without any help, get a love for the game. We moved to west London when I was about two and there was a field behind my house with two pitches. Every day we’d be playing football, either on the field or in the street.’
Having seen the rapid rise Reece has made at Stamford Bridge since scoring on his senior Chelsea debut in September 2019, if Lauren can continue following in his footsteps then there should be a member of the James family getting fans out of their seats at Kingsmeadow too this season.