In Redbridge, England, the hybrid of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Aaron Wan-Bissaka was born. Of course, neither was more than a mere sperm cell back then but for the sake of creative writing, I’m expecting you to glance past the logistics and enjoy the imagery. Reece James has risen to the top of English football after making his 1st start in the Premier League last weekend against Crystal Palace. This not long after his 1st start in the Champions League. It’s fair to say the 19-year-old has fit in seamlessly on both occasions, if anything elevating the team to new heights.
So why do I call him the hybrid? Trent (TAA) is mainly known for his attacking qualities although I think his defensive capabilities are underrated at times. A player that clocked up 16 assists last season in all competitions for Liverpool, it’s fair to say his delivery is first class. Royal Mail worthy in his position. Then there’s Aaron (AWB) who’s mainly known for his defensive contributions. His recovery tackles and pace, a massive standout in his game. He’s made the 3rd most amount of tackles this season so far, which remains the case from last season also 3rd. Reece James showed in the game against Crystal Palace that he can do both the attacking side of the game and the defensive side, keeping one of the league’s most dangerous wingers in Wilfried Zaha, quiet. He limited his opportunities to get into the final 3rd by winning the duels further up the pitch. In both a physical sense and from a technical standpoint. Whether it was tackling or aerial duels, Reece James came out on top.
In terms of attacking he’s already got an assist and 2 goals in just 408 minutes of first-team football. Not bad for his first few appearances for Chelsea. A curling finish against Grimsby followed by a decisive equaliser against Ajax in the Champions League, it’s these moments that make a man, a mammoth.
Reece James offers so much versatility to the team also, his ability to play both at RWB and RB allows Frank to be able to switch formation mid-game. He also featured at CDM/CM for Wigan at the end of last season. The potential to play in the middle of the park to hold tight leads and gain defensive stability is an invaluable asset in this current squad. We’ve already seen on many occasions this season his varied passing range, more than confident in switching the play and progressing the ball. Known last year for a long shot or two he also has this trait in his arsenal should the opportunity present itself. He’s a player who’s learned all sides of the game.
‘Whether it be there, right wing-back or right of a three. As he’s coming into the team, you’d see him there but he does have that all-round game that he could handle playing centrally in midfield if needs be.’Frank Lampard on Reece James (Metro)
As Frank said he’s technically complete, He showed from an early age in our youth ranks that he’s a specialist in crossing the ball. That’s carried on through to his loan spell and now at Chelsea this season. What captured me in person watching him live was his ability to cross the ball in a variety of ways and his awareness to pick out a specific player in the box. He’s shows in cameos crossing with the outside of his right foot and whipping the ball into dangerous areas for the likes of Tammy Abraham to capitalise on. However, what stood out the most was the composure in the final third. The presence of mind to slow down time and make the correct decisions will separate him from the rest.
The potential for leadership is also there. After captaining Wigan on his last appearance for the club on loan, we must take a step back and appreciate how rare that is. He’s already started carrying those leadership skills into this season with his mannerisms on the pitch barking orders to senior players. Combine those traits with deadly set pieces and a combative style when defending, he could prove to be vital in defending set-pieces, something the team has struggled with this year and in the previous. A player that likes to get close to his attackers when defending 1v1 looks perfect to kick start a man-marking system. Tammy might have some help organising after all…
Reece James has all the tools to become the best right-back in the country. I’m predicting he goes on to do just that.