Chelsea defender Reece James has been praised as a “complete player” by former Manchester United defender and legend Rio Ferdinand.
Reece James has been nothing short of fantastic for Chelsea since his debut in 2019. The 21-year-old is largely considered as one of Europe’s top right backs, alongside Liverpool’s Trent Alexander Arnold and Paris Saint-Achraf Germain’s Hakimi. James’ combination of physicality and shooting ability distinguishes him from the majority of European defenders.
The former Cobham academy player had one of his best seasons last year, scoring six goals and dishing out eight assists across all competitions. The player of the England national team has received accolades for his performance in a variety of positions due to his adaptability. His manager, Thomas Tuchel, switches him between midfield and right wing-back.
Former Manchester United player and current commentator Rio Ferdinand praised the player from England for his flexibility.
When he was on loan to Wigan, I saw him play center back and in the middle of the field. He has a wide range of abilities. A passer with a wider passing range than him is difficult to discover. His poise, physicality, and one-on-one defense and in addition to his overall play.
Tuchel may not think of James as Chelsea’s finest player just yet, but there is a growing body of evidence that supports the notion that he is the most complete footballer at Cobham. This makes the issue of how best to deploy James even more interesting and crucial for the team’s future.
To counter opponents who field speedily forwards in the left channel, Tuchel prefers to use James on the right side of a back three.
It makes sense from a purely technical standpoint: James is faster than Cesar Azpilicueta, stronger, more aggressive, but more composed while defending one on one in space.
Since making his first appearance for Chelsea’s first team, his defensive tactics and positional sense have substantially improved, as would be expected of a talented young defender with time and exposure.