Reece James will be swapping training for gaming next week as he puts his EA Sports FIFA 2020 skills to the test against his fellow Premier League footballers.
The inaugural ePremier League Invitational Tournament will see all 20 clubs represented by one of their players in a knockout tournament from the comfort of their own homes. The opening rounds feature four matches per day between midday and 4pm from Tuesday 21 April to Friday 24 April.
The semi-finals and final will be televised live on Sky Sports at 3pm on Saturday 25 April. Fans can watch all the action throughout the week on the premierleague.com website and Sky Sports social media platforms.
James will be hoping to do a little better than his fellow Academy graduate Mason Mount, who recently took on Declan Rice but suffered a narrow defeat.
The tournament prize money is being donated to the #PlayersTogether initiative, a contribution fund set up by Premier League players through which they can channel their own donations into the NHS frontline by partnering with an NHS charity umbrella organisation.
Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta was involved in the idea from a Chelsea perspective and explained to us last week: ‘I thought it was an amazing idea to bring the Premier League players together, players from many, many countries with different cultures, with different backgrounds, to get them involved during this difficult time we are all experiencing.
‘It was not easy to set up because we are a lot of players and we want to help, we want to be involved with the problems, but also we want to have the security that the donations are going to the right people at the right time when they are needed.’
The draw for the first round takes place on Monday’s edition of The Football Show on Sky Sports from 9am. Possible opponents for James include Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, Norwich City’s Todd Cantwell and Raheem Sterling of Manchester City. The full line-up will be confirmed prior to the draw.