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Reece James might be the right player but at the wrong time for England

Reece James looks set to become the modern-day equivalent of Michael Carrick for England.

The former Man United midfielder was the victim of England’s ‘Golden Generation’ with Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard limiting Carrick to just 35 caps over 14 years.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have been battling it out for one spot in the national side with the Liverpool man seemingly undroppable for the Three Lions.

But all that talent leaves one face in the lurch, one who would walk into the England side of 2010.


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That kit is something else

Getty - Contributor
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That kit is something else

James has been one of Chelsea’s best players this season, which will come as no surprise to those who have been paying close attention to him over the last few years.

He was tipped to do more for the club than the likes of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham following a successful loan spell at Wigan Athletic, where he won their Player of the Year.

He suffered an ankle injury whilst playing for the England Under-20s last summer which kept him out for the first couple of moths of the season.

Lampard drip-fed him back into the starting XI with the number 24 becoming a key figure in the side before the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Cesar Azpilicueta – the club captain – is versatile enough to play at left-back or in the the middle while Chelsea play with a back five, which has all but given the youngster the right back spot.

James looks just as comfortable in the back four as he does as a wing back bombing forward and just as capable defending as attacking.

His whipped balls in are reminiscent of Alexander-Arnold and his defending comparable to Wan-Bissaka.

And that’s exactly where the problem lies for the 20-year-old.

TAA is surely first choice for years to come

EPA
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TAA is surely first choice for years to come

Alexander-Arnold has got his foot firmly in the door at England and is not just one of The Three Lions’ very best players, but in contention for the PFA ‘Player of the Year’ award.

Then you have the experienced Walker, who has 48 caps, and Wan-Bissaka, whose impressive season at Crystal Palace and £50m summer transfer surely puts him higher in the pecking order than the Chelsea man.

What would Fabio Capello have done for those kind of options heading into the South Africa World Cup of 2010?

Right back has been a problem for England before

News Group Newspapers Ltd
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Right back has been a problem for England before

Glen Johnson won 54 caps but would probably now be England’s fifth choice right-back at best.

Micah Richards even made 13 caps for England in the interim between the Gary Neville and Walker reigns.

All James can do is continue to put in performances like he has most of the season and hope to catch Gareth Southgate’s eye.

The fact that the Euros are delayed gives James a better chance to stake his claim for a spot on the plane.

James is a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge

AFP or licensors
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James is a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge

He was in the Championship Team of the Season last year, often playing in a deep-lying midfield role showing how adaptable the 20-year-old is.

His progression and talent is immense but barring some injuries to those ahead of him, James is set to become one of the least fortunate England players of the modern era.

Who said no one wants to grow up and be a Gary Neville?