Under-18s report: Manchester United 3 Chelsea 0
Our youngsters suffered their first defeat since August as they were beaten on a difficult morning in Manchester.
Reece James is a graduate of our development centre programme and has been training with us since the age of six. He started out mostly as a striker before moving further back into midfield and defence. A right-footed player, he made his youth team debut while still a schoolboy in 2015/16 before becoming a key figure in our Treble-winning Under-18 season the following year.
His versatility was a key attribute as he featured at right-back, wing-back and in a central defensive back three throughout the campaign, playing in every game as the Youth Cup was successfully retained and scoring a brilliant header in the semi-final at White Hart Lane.
In March 2017, James signed a first professional contract at the club which ran until the end of the 2018/19 campaign, before helping England to triumph at the Toulon Tournament in the summer. There he impressed to such an extent he was named in the team of the competition.
He continued his good form in 2017/18, captaining the Under-18s to another FA Youth Cup triumph and being named Academy Player of the Season.
In June 2018, he signed a four-year Chelsea contract and went on loan to Wigan Athletic in the Championship for the forthcoming season.