Chelsea full-back Reece James may be called on to play a vital role for the Three Lions when Euro 2020 kicks off on Friday, but the 21-year-old imposing defender has admitted that he had to be patient to get his chance at club level after the arrival of Thomas Tuchel to replace Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge in January.
James is one of the versatile players in the England squad and can play as a right-back, wing-back, and even an auxiliary center-back. The 21-year-old played major roles for Chelsea in the 2020/21 season as he started in the FA Cup final and UCL final for the Blues.
Reece James was a mainstay in Frank Lampard’s team but was left out of Tuchel’s first game in charge. He then went on to start just two of the next five games in all competitions. He continued to be in and out of the team before suddenly establishing himself in May.
He revealed that he was mature during the situation and admitted that he had no option but to prove himself to the new manager by working hard and it paid off.
“When a new manager comes in and you’re not in the team straight away you have to accept the decision. You have to work hard, try and prove to the manager that you should be playing,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
“These moments come around quite often in football, things happen so fast and I didn’t really get advice off anyone, I just went into training, carried on working hard and when I got my opportunity, I knew I had to take it.
“At the start of the season we had Frank Lampard and I was very lucky to play the majority of the games under him but when our new manager came in our style of play and formation changed. It was a big learning curve.”
Regardless of whether he starts or is rotated at the Euros, he is an important player for Gareth Southgate’s England at the Euros. The young defender has already played at the highest level for his club and will be hoping to do so when the action kicks off for the Three Lions.