Reece James: Journey from Chelsea youth to England has been tough

Reece James admits his journey from the Chelsea youth days to England’s Euro 2020 squad has been ‘tough’ after loan spell and injuries… but claims representing the Three Lions at a major tournament is a ‘dream’

  • Reece James is in contention to feature for England at Euro 2020 this summer 
  • The defender was playing Championship football with Wigan just two years ago
  • The Chelsea man says representing the Three Lions this summer is the ‘pinnacle’ 
  • James claims Gareth Southgate’s England are capable of going all the way 
  • Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here.

Reece James admits the road from Chelsea youth academy player to England appearance maker has been ‘tough’ ahead of the European Championships this summer. 

The 21-year-old full-back has undergone a remarkable rise over the past two years, as the Three Lions full-back was playing at Wigan Athletic in the bottom half of the Championship just two years ago. 

But James is now in contention to start England’s opening Euro 2020 group match against Croatia on Sunday and claims he is grateful he is at a major tournament with England having seen loan spells and ankle injuries damage the journey to that point.

Reece James admits the road to making England’s Euro 2020 squad has been ‘tough’

The right-sided defender was playing at Wigan Athletic in the Championship just two years ago

The Chelsea and England defender told talkSPORT: ‘The journey has had a lot of ups and downs and it’s been tough.

‘I’m very grateful and thankful I’m here. I couldn’t have done it myself, it’s been a collective effort, I’ve had lots of great teammates and coaches.

‘So many people have helped me along the way. It wasn’t easy, like it might’ve looked. I didn’t go to Chelsea and just break in straight away. I had to go out on loan, I had many setbacks, and a number of injuries I had to overcome.’

James returned from his Wigan loan spell in the summer of 2019 and was given a chance to impress by then-Chelsea boss Frank Lampard in the first-team, but an ankle injury hampered his development as a Blues regular. 

James returned to Chelsea in 2019 and continued his rise – leading to Champions League glory

He returned to Lampard’s plans following his time on the treatment table and ended the 2019-20 season with 40 appearances in all competitions to his name, before kicking on to impress the following season.

Despite Lampard’s departure in January of this year, James has improved his adaptability skills under current Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, playing either at wing-back, or in a back three. 

After winning the Champions League with the Blues last month, a moment the 21-year-old described as a career highlight so far, he is looking to earn silverware for England for the first time in 55 years.  

James says featuring for England major tournament is a dream come true ahead of Euro 2020

James added: ‘I’ve dreamt of this moment for a very long time. It’s the pinnacle, representing your country in a major tournament.

‘This season I’ve played quite a lot of positions, right back and wing-back. I’ve played right of a three as well. I’d probably say anywhere across those three, I’m comfortable.’  

James also believes England are capable of going all the way in the summer tournament, which would include winning the final on July 11 at Wembley.  

‘With this group of lads we have, anything is possible,’ James said. ‘We’ve got so many great players in the team and I don’t see why we can’t do it now.’

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