Chelsea's academy player of the year Reece James is proving himself at Wigan while his sister stars for Manchester United Women

Yet it is the teenager’s defending which has seen him emerge as one of England’s new generation of full-backs.

James, 18, is on loan from Chelsea and believes he can make a major name for himself at Stamford Bridge.

Hailing from London, he comes from a family who love their sport.

His father runs a specialist football school in London called Nigel James Elite Coaching.

And his 17-year-old sister Lauren is a midfielder for Manchester United Women – and she also scored on Sunday against Tottenham.



Chelsea’s Academy Player of the year last team, the right-back skippered the club to a fifth successive FA Youth Cup success.

James was loaned to Wigan in the summer to help with his development and he has impressed with his 16 appearances for the first-team.

Standing at 6ft, the England youth produced is a tall and powerful player who is comfortable around the pitch.

This is probably because for Chelsea, he has played up front, in midfield and in defence. When playing with friends, he has also starred in goal.



Wigan boss Paul Cook is aware of his player’s versatility and has already played him in central midfield in the Championship.

Although he signed a new four-year deal with Chelsea in the summer, a number of Premier League teams – including Liverpool – have been watching his progress with a keen eye.

For the time being, James, named the club’s player of the month for October, is looking to keep improving for Wigan – and has already earned praise from his current boss.

Cook says James is the benchmark for every young player.


After the player’s long-range free-kick against Leeds, the Wigan boss said: “Reece has been excellent for us since he’s been here.

“He’s an 18-year-old boy, but everything about the kid suggests he’s going to have as very strong career.

“He’s a fantastic kid, and his ability is only matched by his temperament and his attitude.

“If every 18-year-old conducted themselves the way Reece does, football would be in a good place.”

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