Reece James tops Premier League full-back chart after world-class Juventus display
OPINION: As discussion flows over who is the Premier League’s best full-back, Reece James is proving there’s absolutely no need for debateReece James is just getting better and better
Big game energy. Reece James is the gift that just keeps on giving. I can barely put into words just how gifted this man is!
Chelsea faced Juventus in Tuesday night’s Champions League clash at Stamford Bridge and the boys in blue gave the fans everything they wanted to see. They played with their hearts on their sleeves and gave us a performance to be proud of.
The home side blew the Italian giants away with a 4-0 thumping, with Chelsea’s Cobham graduates stealing the headlines once again despite sharing a pitch with the likes of Leonardo Bonucci and Paulo Dybala.
Goals from Trevoh Chalobah, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner sealed the deal as Chelsea secured their place in the last 16.
There were a whole host of things to be happy about with Chelsea’s performance on the night, but I couldn’t help notice James’ celebration after he notched Thomas Tuchel’s side’s second of the contest. He’s clearly oozing with confidence and rightfully so.
We’ve all heard about the comparisons with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joao Cancelo, and social media has heightened the debate with strong and valid arguments for each of the aforementioned players being crowned the Premier League’s best full-back.
However, I’m here to tell you that James is coming for the throne.
As far as full-backs go, James has played his way to the top of the rankings. We cannot be obtuse in our thinking and deny the talent possessed by both Alexander-Arnold and Cancelo – both are fantastic players for their respective teams, but James takes the crown when looking for the complete full-back.
We all saw Alexander-Arnold produce a phenomenal performance against Arsenal over the weekend, registering two pinpoint assists for Sadio Mane and Takumi Minamino.
We also enjoyed the sorcery of Cancelo last weekend – I mean, that outside-of-the-boot assist for Raheem Sterling was just fake. Of course, James was amongst the assists for Chelsea over the weekend as well but he decided to take it up a notch when the Champions League came calling.
Anything Alexander-Arnold and Cancelo can do, he can do better.
Chesting down a cross from Ben Chilwell onto his wicked right foot, the 21-year-old arrowed a sublime drilled finish past former Arsenal shot-stopper Wojciech Szczęsny to double the hosts’ advantage on the night. Cool, calm and collected, James strolled over to the Matthew Harding stand to celebrate as though this was the norm for a right-back.
A Kylian Mbappe-esque celebration to say the least. The confidence James has in his own ability is truly frightening, but also warranted.
His recovery efforts, his defensive attributes, his attacking prowess, his finishing – the England international has all of the ingredients needed to make him the best at what he does.
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The scariest trait for a talented footballer to have is confidence. Once a footballer of James’ calibre realises how good he is and starts playing with a level of arrogance in his game, it’s a long way back for our rivals. That confidence turns into a hunt to become the best in the world.
James is now Chelsea’s top goalscorer this season with five – not a bad stat for the young baller if you ask me.
I’m buzzing to see what else Tuchel can get out of him because his best days are still ahead of him. We know it, Tuchel knows it and, perhaps even scarier, he knows it.