The latest edition of our series looking at breakthrough seasons for emerging young talent at Chelsea in 2019/20 focuses on the start of Reece James’ top-flight career.
The opening weeks of Chelsea’s season were characterised by Academy graduates being given their chance, but James had to wait a little longer than many of his young team-mates after missing the whole of pre-season and the beginning of 2019/20 through injury.
However, he seemed eager to make up for lost time when Frank Lampard patiently integrated him into the side towards the end of September, putting in some impressive early performances after bagging a debut goal against Grimsby in the Carabao Cup.
It was two statement performances in the Champions League which really showed his talents, firstly in the win at Lille and then as a half-time substitute to help us come back from three goals down to draw 4-4 with Ajax, scoring the dramatic equaliser himself.
That versatility saw him become more involved in Lampard’s plans as the season went on and he enjoyed a particularly potent spell of form following the Premier League restart. As our head coach favoured a back-three in the final of months of the campaign, James’ athleticism and dangerous delivery from the right formed an important part of that system.
You can watch the best bits of James’ breakthrough 2019/20 campaign above and test your knowledge of his first Premier League season in the quiz below. Watch this space for the final part of our Breakthrough Season series tomorrow, featuring Christian Pulisic.