Reece James has credited two Chelsea’s summer signings with making a huge impact on his game and helping him cement a place in the first team of his club and international managers.
After spending 2018/19 campaign on loan at Wigan, James made a huge breakthrough under Lampard, benefiting from the blues’ transfer ban to rival Cesar Azpilicueta for a place in the starting XI.
Lampard’s decision to select a back four in his side’s recent wins over Burnley and Sheffield has forced him into making a difficult decision over who to select at the right-back postion, but he went for James over the club captain.
The youngster’s attacking qualities are second to none and his partnership with Hakim Ziyech has been spectacular, while James also credits the impact of Thiago Silva in helping him to improve defensively.
He told The Athletic: ‘Thiago has brought a lot of experience. I have played alongside him a few times now. He has helped me a lot. You can see straight away why he has been one of the best in the world.
‘He constantly talks to me throughout games, helping me in my positioning, directing me and making sure he is talking to me before, during and after games. It all adds up and improves performances.
‘Further forward, there have been signs with Hakim in training. Ever since he arrived, we got on well. I knew I would be playing behind him. We clicked early and tried to build this connection in training to use this season. His left foot is just unbelievably good.’
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James has also forced his way into England’s first-team amid significant competition from players like Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
However, he was sent off against Denmark, and reflecting on that incident, he added: ‘Both Frank and Gareth said I need to learn from it but not to take too much negativity.
‘To be sent off is obviously disappointing but now I need to make sure it does not happen again, and the second call-up is great for me. It is very good to hear someone say nice things or receive praise but I am still very young, very early in my career and I need to improve. I can get a lot better and there is a lot to come.’