Chelsea hero Joe Cole lauds Reece James as he pinpoints moment he knew hed be a star

Chelsea v Juventus – Match in Pictures

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Chelsea hero Joe Cole has lauded Reece James following his performance in the Blues’ Champions League victory over Juventus on Tuesday night and has pinpointed the moment he knew the right-back would be a star. Chelsea ran out 4-0 winners against the Italian side as they stormed to the top of the Group H table.

James was in imperious form yet again for Thomas Tuchel’s side and was instrumental at both ends of the pitch.

The 21-year-old struck the Blues’ second goal of the night as he chested the ball down and rocketed a powerful strike beyond the stretch of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

And the youngster looked assured at the back as Chelsea kept their 12th clean sheet of the campaign.

“I’ve been banging the drum for this lad for years,” Cole said. “I can remember I was back in my America training with him and was blown away by his technicality.

“He’s such a strong, athletic, powerful lad. But, his touch is velvet – he finds the right passes.

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“I said the kid’s going to add assists and goals to his game. He is the top strikers’ level of composure and calm and technique. It was a wonderful goal.”

James has cemented his place as Chelsea’s number one right wing-back since Tuchel took over as manager in January.

The defender has been one of his team’s most threatening players this season and has already racked-up a staggering four goals and five assists in all competitions.

And Cole says James was his man-of-the-match against Juventus.

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“It has to be Reece James,” Cole purred. “It could have been five, six, seven. But he was just a machine. Take the goal out of it – it was every part of his game.”

Meanwhile, Steve McManaman has paid tribute to Chelsea’s academy graduates who have forced their way into Tuchel’s plans this season.

Trevoh Chalobah and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who both came through the club’s youth set-up, got their names on the scoresheet against Juventus alongside James, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount both came off the bench.

“They only play them if they’re good enough,” said McManaman.

“Every time he’s [Tuchel] called up any of them all you can talk about is what they’ve done this season – they’ve been outstanding.

“It was a wonderful night for all of them. Whenever any of them play, they get off the mark.

“It’s a really nice night for the people further down the chain from Thomas Tuchel. So a lot of credit needs to go to those boys as well.”

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