Chelsea full-back Reece James could play an important role England at Euro 2020 this summer, but the 21-year-old has admitted he had to be patient just to get his chance at club level when Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge in January.
The versatile James, who can play as a right-back, wing-back and even auxiliary third centre-back, started both the FA Cup and Champions League finals for Chelsea in May.
But only a few months earlier, having been a regular starter under Lampard, James was left out of Tuchel’s first game in charge. He then only started two of the next five games in all competitions and was in and out of the team until suddenly becoming an ever-present at a crucial time in May.
James has revealed a mature attitude to his situation, admitting he knew he had no option but to prove himself to the new manager by working hard. Crucially, it has 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.”
Whether as a starter, impact substitute or rotation option, James stands to be an important player for England at Euro 2020. He has played at the highest level possible for his club in the last few weeks alone and will be hoping to do the same with his country.