Sports writer Paul Brown has been speaking to Give Me Sport about Chelsea captain Reece James, and we’re delighted to say he’s as positive as we are about how good the right back can be if he can only stay fit for the year.
He struggled against Newcastle, but in the other games since his return to fitness he’s been brilliant. Mauricio Pochettino seems determined to manage him very carefully. We actually enjoy seeing Malo Gusto coming on, as it means James has made it through another game without getting hurt.
Brown had thoughts about the full back’s red against Newcastle, and his season to come:
“By definition, you’re letting your team down if you get sent off in a game because you’re leaving them with ten men for the rest of it. But James is one of Chelsea’s best players, and I won’t criticise him too much. I think he’s a massively important part of that team. Losing him to suspension when he’s struggled with injury over the last couple of seasons is a blow. But I would still expect him to return and be one of their best players this season, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be,” Brown said.
“He will be kicking himself; I’m sure he’s frustrated. But I would put James in the world-class category, and I think Chelsea will rely on him quite a lot this season. So, as long as his head is in the right place, his form improves, and he stays clear of injury, I think he’ll be back and doing a really important job for them over the next few months.”
The worries about his head being in the right place seem misplaced. He doesn’t seem the type to be easily distracted, and there have never been questions over his work rate or attitude, it’s only his body which has held him back.
The red card against Newcastle was so silly, but he’s got plenty of season left to make up for it, if he can just stay fit.