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Reece James

BIOGRAPHY

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. 

There he was a huge success. He was instrumental in helping Wigan stay in the Championship and received an astonishing 96 per cent of the votes from Latics supporters in their Player of the Year vote.

He played at right-back and central midfield and was also voted Wigan’s Players’ Player of the Year. To top it off he won the club’s Goal of the Season award for a brilliant hit away to Bristol City.

James suffered an ankle injury on international duty over the summer, so had to wait until late September before making his Blues bow. He marked the occasion with a goal, too, superbly curling a 20-yarder in against Grimsby in a big Carabao Cup win. 

A week later his started in the Champions League as we defeated Lille in France, showing no signs of nerves on such a big stage. 

The landmarks kept coming. He made his Premier League off the bench against Newcastle, and his first start in the competition as we beat Crystal Palace 2-0, with James earning plaudits for the manner in which he kept Wilfried Zaha quiet. Between those two games he scored a dramatic equaliser against Ajax, capping an incredible comeback from 4-1 down and sparking delirium inside the Bridge.