Norwich City v Chelsea – Premier League
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has heaped praise on full-back Reece James ahead of the Blues’ clash with Crystal Palace in the FA Cup semi-finals. The German claimed that the 22-year-old has had a huge impact on the club’s performances and gave an insight into his two best positions.
James became a regular member of Chelsea’s first team during the 2019-20 season. He has since developed into one of the best full-backs in the Premier League over the last couple of seasons.
The defender played a key role in the club’s Champions League triumph last season. His consistency earned him a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Euro 2020 as well.
The 22-year-old has taken his game to another level this season. James’ versatility has made him a major asset for the London-based club.
He has predominantly played as a right wing-back this season, but has also been deployed as a right-sided centre-half by Tuchel when coming up against tricky opposition.
“He can play as a right wing-back for us, he has played there and had a big impact from there this season. He played against Leicester last season against Jamie Vardy, and also Vinicius [vs Real Madrid]. He played very well in a back three. These are the two positions I see him and he has a huge impact. He is still young and you see how important he is,” said Tuchel as per Chelsea’s official website.
The full-back has scored six goals and provided seven assists in 30 appearances for Chelsea this season. His performances helped the Blues climb up to third place in the Premier League table, and reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
Chelsea must sign a player to provide cover and competition to Reece James
Southampton v Manchester City: The Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final
Chelsea lack cover and competition for Reece James. The Blues won just two out of five Premier League games when the 22-year-old was ruled out of action for nearly a month and a half due to a hamstring injury earlier this season.
Cesar Azpilicueta and Trevoh Chalobah have been deployed as right wing-backs in the absence of James. The duo, however, lack the speed, crossing and goal-scoring ability that the England international possesses.
The Blues must therefore attempt to sign a top-quality right wing-back this summer. Tino Livramento was a product of the club’s youth system. The England U-21 international joined Southampton last summer after failing to become a member of the Blues’ first-team. He has enjoyed an impressive debut season with the Saints.
Thomas Tuchel’s side reportedly inserted a £25 million buy-back clause in the full-back’s contract with Southampton. The west London club could trigger the clause this summer.