Chelsea desperate for return of Reece James as ‘liability’ Cesar Azpilicueta disappoints yet again for Blues

2 Sep

In what was another disappointing weekend for Chelsea and Frank Lampard, several things became increasingly clear for Blues fans.

The most notably apparent is that Chelsea simply have no idea how to close out a game.

Azpilicueta has had a disappointing start to the campaign
Getty Images - Getty

Just like all three matches prior to the draw with Sheffield United, the Blues struggled to to find a goal to alleviate pressure on themselves and their second-half performance was nothing short of awful.

Lampard is still unclear what his best back line is, having deployed Fikayo Tomori as a centre-back in place of Andreas Christensen for the match –  and Antonio Rudiger’s return after the international break cannot come soon enough for the English manager.


Cesar Azpilicueta is going the same way as Branislav Ivanovic and becoming a liability, says Tony Cascarino


Another thing that is becoming increasingly obvious is the alarming decline of the often reliable Cesar Azpilicueta.

The full-back, in the words of Tony Cascarino, is becoming a ‘liability’ in the team.

In his Times column, Cascarino writes: “I remember watching Chelsea a few years ago and realising that Branislav Ivanovic — who had been such a key player — had lost his pace and was now a liability.

LIVE on talkSPORT

Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Salford vs Aston Villa (Tuesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Germany vs Netherlands (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • MK Dons vs AFC Wimbledon (Saturday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Sunderland vs Burton Albion (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • England vs Bulgaria (Saturday, 5pm) – talkSPORT

“I’m starting to wonder if this season will see the same thing happen to Cesar Azpilicueta.

“All of Sheffield United’s threat came down the right flank and he looks tired — he has played a lot of football in the past two years.

“It’s understandable that Frank Lampard wants an experienced man in his young team but it may be time for a rest.”

Just like Branislav Ivanovic at the tail end of his spell at Stamford Bridge, the Spaniard’s performances are deteriorating the older he gets.

The 30-year-old’s legs are seemingly getting heavier and he is noticeably getting found out, and this was clear for all to see as Chris Wilder’s side posed the greatest danger came from the left.

In fact, according to Squawka, Azpilicueta gave away possession 20 times against Sheffield United, at least three times more than any other player on the pitch.

And despite being one of Chelsea’s most consistent performers for nearly eight years, Blues fans are losing patience with their captain.

And the Daily Star suggest Azpilicueta could be axed from the first-team for his under-par displays after the international break – with starlet Reece James replacing him in the XI.

James, who is yet to make his debut for Chelsea, is recovering from ankle injury, but is set to go straight into Lampard’s side once he is available for selection.

James is highly regarded at Chelsea
AFP or licensors

The 19-year-old, who can play in defence and midfield, caught the eye while on loan at Wigan in the Championship during 2018/19.

He was named in the division’s Team of the Year and the Latics even game him the captain’s armband on his final appearance to show their gratitude.

The defender missed just one of Wigan’s 46 Championship games as the club preserved their second tier status under Paul Cook.

And Blues fans are desperate to see their academy product given his chance…


Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action.

We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

Crystal Palace transfer news: Ten possible replacements for Manchester United-bound Crystal Palace star Aaron Wan-Bissaka

27 Jun

Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be a huge miss for Crystal Palace next season.

The right-back is set to seal a £50million move to Manchester United this week.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is set to become one of the world’s most expensive defenders
Getty

The talented 21-year-old impressed in his first full season in senior football, making 35 Premier League appearances for the Eagles.

Wan-Bissaka’s impending departure, followed by the potential exit of Arsenal target Wilfried Zaha, could leave Palace in serious trouble heading into the new campaign.

Below, talkSPORT.com look at 10 players who could replace Wan-Bissaka at Selhurst Park.

Max Aarons (Norwich)

Max Aarons has bags of potential
Getty

Aarons played a starring role for Norwich in a breakthrough season as the Canaries won promotion to the Premier League last term.

He featured 43 times, scoring three goals and registering six assists in all competitions.

Manchester United were keeping tabs on the 19-year-old before turning their attention to Wan-Bissaka.

While Norwich will be playing Premier League football next season, Palace appear to be in a better position to offer Aarons more years in the top-flight.

Timothy Castagne (Atalanta)

Timothy Castagne is a full Belgium international
Getty

Castagne is reportedly a transfer target for Palace.

Earlier this month, the Belgium international, who helped Atalanta to a third-placed finish in Serie A last season, admitted he wants to play in the Premier League one day.

He said: “Serie A is a very competitive league, I like it, but one day I would like to compete in the Premier League.

“As for the offers, I will be honest, in general there isn’t a lack of them, but the priority is Atalanta.”

Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool)

Nathaniel Clyne could complete a return to Crystal Palace this summer
Getty

Clyne came through the ranks at Crystal Palace before letting his contract run down to join Southampton for an undisclosed compensation fee in 2012.

The England defender has been plagued by injuries for the past two years and was shipped out on loan to Bournemouth in January.

He will struggle to usurp Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez from Liverpool’s starting XI next season.

And with just one year left on his Reds contract, Palace could agree a cut-price deal with Anfield chiefs for their former player.

Reece James (Chelsea)

Reece James was a fans’ favourite at Wigan
Getty

James got his first taste of senior football with Wigan in the Championship last term.

Starting 44 of Wigan’s 46 league games, he helped the Latics preserve their second tier status.

James made such a huge impact at the DW Stadium that manager Paul Cook gave him the captain’s armband for their final-day win over Millwall.

The 19-year-old is recovering from a broken ankle, but deserves a chance to play in the Premier League.

With Cesar Azpilicueta firmly Chelsea’s first-choice right-back, a loan move to Palace could be beneficial for James’ development.

James Tavernier (Rangers)

James Tavernier has been a hit in Scotland
Getty

Tavernier scored an impressive 17 goals from right-back for Steven Gerrard’s side last season.

The Rangers captain has been linked with moves to Premier League clubs Aston Villa and Brighton, and he would be a stellar addition to Crystal Palace’s squad.

Tavernier could fill the attacking void left by Wan-Bissaka.

Danilo (Manchester City)

Danilo’s playing time at Manchester City has been severely restricted due to Kyle Walker’s form
Getty

With Manchester City reportedly chasing Juventus right-back Joao Cancelo, Danilo’s future at the Etihad looks bleak.

Inter Milan are believed to be interested in signing the former Real Madrid man, who is valued at around £20million.

In terms of wages, this could be an expensive deal for Palace, however, when called upon by City boss Pep Guardiola, Danilo has never let him down.

Connor Roberts (Swansea)

Connor Roberts is a crucial part of Swansea’s defence
Getty

Roberts signed a new long-term deal with Swansea last November.

It has been a meteoric rise for the 23-year-old, who has become the first-choice right-back for Swansea and Wales over the past year.

Similarly to Tavernier, Roberts’ attacking qualities could soften the blow of losing Wan-Bissaka.

Swansea’s owners are renowned for selling the club’s top players – and Roberts could be the next star to follow the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Daniel James out the door.

Craig Dawson (West Brom)

Craig Dawson was an ever-present for West Brom last season
Getty

Burnley are understood to be monitoring Dawson, who is set to enter the final year of his contract at West Brom.

He is valued at £15million and would bring versatility to Palace’s backline.

Under Tony Pulis in the Premier League, Dawson was a consistent performer at right-back.

Following relegation to the Championship last year, the 29-year-old moved back into his favoured central defensive position.

Cedric Soares (Southampton)

Cedric Soares is an experienced Premier League player
Getty

Soares appears to be surplus to requirements at Southampton.

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl loaned the Portugal international to Inter Milan for the second half of last season as he put his trust in academy graduate Yan Valery.

Valery, who scored a stunning goal in a 3-2 defeat to Manchester United in February, repaid the faith shown by his manager as he helped Southampton beat the drop

His first-team breakthrough was rewarded with a new long-term contract in March.

Soares, who has four years of Premier League experience, could be a cheap alternative for Palace.

Kieran Trippier (Tottenham)

Kieran Trippier could have played his last game for Tottenham
Getty

Tottenham are reportedly willing to sell Trippier with Juventus and Napoli interested in signing him this summer.

The full-back struggled for form during the 2018/19 season, which cost him a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for their Nations League games.

Trippier, who would cost half of Wan-Bissaka’s £50million fee, would be an ideal replacement for the England Under-21 international.

When asked about his future following Tottenham’s Champions League final defeat to Liverpool, Trippier said: “I don’t know. I go home now, spend time with my family, just recover after a long, difficult season. Everybody’s got a decision to make, no matter what.

“I see a lot of speculation about me not being here. I give everything, 100 per cent every game, win lose or draw. So we’ll see what happens in pre-season.”

Chelsea injury news: Reece James suffers suspected broken ankle while on England duty

8 Jun

Chelsea suffered another injury blow after Reece James was stretchered off with a suspected broken ankle on Friday.

The versatile defender has been tipped to break into the Blues’ first-team following his successful loan spell with Wigan in the Championship last season.

Reece James starred for Wigan last season
Getty

But the 19-year-old could face an extended spell on the sidelines after being forced off in the 37th minute of England Under-20s’ defeat to Chile’s Under-23s side.

James was given oxygen before being replaced by West Brom’s Sam Field as England conceded an injury-time own goal in the Toulon Tournament.

If Chelsea’s two-window transfer ban is upheld this summer, James could fancy his first-team chances at Stamford Bridge next term.

The full-back missed just one of Wigan’s 46 Championship games as the club preserved their second tier status under Paul Cook.

But James’ ankle problem is another blow to Chelsea, who look set to be without Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek at the beginning of the next season due to injury.

Despite his injury setback, James, who has been linked with moves to Manchester United, Leicester and Brighton, is reportedly set to sign a new long-term contract with the Blues.

Chelsea news: Watch incredible video of academy star Reece James at the Toulon Tournament

5 Jun

Chelsea fans are very excited about the future of Reece James – and it’s easy to see why.

The 19-year-old, who can play in defence and midfield, caught the eye while on loan at Wigan in the Championship during 2018/19.

Many Chelsea fans are calling for James to feature in the first-team next season
getty

He was named in the division’s Team of the Year and the Latics even game him the captain’s armband on his final appearance to show their gratitude.

Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing him – and the below video from the Toulon Tournament shows exactly what all the fuss is about.

Featuring a roulette that Zinedine Zidane himself would’ve been proud of, the England Under-20 star goes on a mazy run from the back against Portugal.

And James shows why he was drafted into midfield at Wigan by demonstrating his incredible ability on the ball. It’s like watching a man against boys

You can watch the clip below:

However, James could not prevent the Young Lions from crashing out the tournament in France after a 3-2 defeat to the Portuguese youngsters.

Fellow Chelsea starlets Trevor Chalobah and Conor Gallagher started alongside James as England bid to bounce back from defeat in their opener.

LIVE ON talkSPORT

talkSPORT is your home of live football! Here's what's coming up on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2...

  • Portugal vs Switzerland (Wednesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT
  • Netherlands vs England (Thursday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT
  • France vs South Korea (Friday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Denmark vs Republic of Ireland (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Croatia vs Wales (Saturday, 2pm) – talkSPORT
  • England vs Scotland (Sunday, 5pm) – talkSPORT

And despite goals from Arsenal pair Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock, the loss ended their hopes of winning the tournament for a fourth successive time.

One wonderkid at every Premier League club who could become a first-team regular next season

3 Jun

The 2018/19 Premier League season has seen the breakthrough of some immense young talent.

Declan Rice has shone in the middle of the park for West Ham and was rightfully called-up to the England squad for his assured displays in front of the Hammers defence.

Declan Rice has impressed for West Ham this season
Getty Images

While Chelsea’s young winger Callum Hudson-Odoi also dazzled for both Chelsea and England before his season was cut short with an Achilles injury.

Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka is another who’s had a hugely impressive campaign and he has become of the most reliable full-backs in the division.

But which young stars could break through the ranks next campaign? talkSPORT.com has identified a young player at each club who could light up the top flight next season.


Arsenal – Joe Willock

Could Willock be Ramsey’s long-term replacement?

One player Arsenal fans can be very excited about next season is Willock.

The 19-year-old was given a rare start by Unai Emery at Burnley on the final day of the season and he didn’t disappoint, with Gunners fans claiming he is better than both Xhaka and Elneny.

With Aaron Ramsey on his way to Juventus, could Willock be the perfect fit to replace the Welshman? He may well be given his cameo in the Europa League final.

Aston Villa – Andre Green

Green looks a real player for Aston Villa

Green is another young player who may be a real breakthrough star of the Premier League next season.

The 20-year-old came on as Villa beat Derby in the play-off final to get promoted to the Premier League on Sunday, and, despite featuring mainly from the bench this term, he clearly has bags of potential.

In the first-leg of the semi-final against West Brom, Green changed the game with his pace and creativity and this led to many Villa fans heaping praise on the youngster.

If he continues to showcase his ability off the bench it won’t be long until he cements a starting spot on the wing for the Premier League newcomers.

Bournemouth – Mark Travers

Travers looked impressive against Spurs in the penultimate match of the season

Travers put in a stunning performance against Tottenham when he was handed his debut by Eddie Howe.

He produced a string of fine saves to deny Spurs and kept his starting place against Crystal Palace on the final day of the season.

He is by no means the finished product, but the Cherries need a new stopper with Artur Boruc and Asmir Begovic seemingly past their prime.

Brighton – Alexis Mac Allister

Brighton signed Argentine playmaker Mac Allister from Argentinos Juniors in January but he was loaned straight back out to see out the rest of the season in his homeland.

Mac Allister looks a very exciting prospect for the Seagulls, having scored five goals in 19 matches in the top flight this season – could he be the man to add some much needed creativity to the south coast side?

Burnley – Dwight McNeil

McNeil has impressed for Burnley but next year he could steal the show

McNeill was one of Burnley’s star performers for the second half of the campaign and we can expect him to be one of the first names on the team-sheet next season.

He will be hoping to have a productive pre-season with the first-team and pickup where he left off with some good displays.

Chelsea – Reece James

James has been outstanding on loan at Wigan this season

Reece James has been a shining light in otherwise unconvincing season for Wigan in the Championship.

Brought in on loan by Wigan last summer as a right-back, James has recently developed into a truly outstanding central midfielder and he’s now viewed as one of the best young English players around.

Chelsea fans already know of his talent and he could be a mainstay for the Blues for years to come.

Crystal Palace – Sam Woods

A lifelong Eagles fan, 20-year-old defender Woods appeared as a late substitute in their Carabao Cup defeat and was on the bench for their 1-0 win over Newcastle.

He has been on the periphery of the first-team for much of the season after impressing for the Under-23s in defence and will be hoping for a breakthrough next campaign.

Everton – Lewis Gibson

Gibson is a highly-rated full-back

Gibson was highly rated at Newcastle before he signed for Everton and you can see why.

The 18-year-old has been on superb form for the Everton Under-23s this campaign, putting a string of accomplished displays on the left side of defence.

However, Lucas Digne has had a great debut season in the Premier League and it would take a lot for him to be displaced in the line-up.

Still Gibson could be given a chance in the first-team in cup matches.

Leicester City – Harvey Barnes

Barnes has had a great second half of the season and has been an important player for Leicester, but next year he could really cement his name in the side from the off.

He has great dribbling skills, pace and a good delivery too and with the guidance of Brendan Rodgers in pre-season, he could be a star for the the Foxes next season.

Liverpool – Curtis Jones

Jones is certainly one to watch from the Liverpool academy

Jones is another player who could set the Premier League alight next season.

The midfielder was given his debut by Jurgen Klopp in the FA Cup earlier this season and has impressed for the Under-23s this term, having scored 4 goals in 13 matches.

James Milner is yet to sign a new contract with the club but they may have a natural successor in their ranks already as Jones looks a very good talent.

Manchester City – Phil Foden

Foden has no doubt had a massive season of progression under Pep Guardiola, having made eight more Premier League appearances than last season – and 26 in total.

However, many of his appearances have come off the bench and he is yet to cement a solid run in the team.

Next season, it will be interesting to see how Guardiola plays him as he knows the pressure will be on him to use his outstanding youth more.

Next year could really be the year where he becomes pivotal to Man City’s team.

Phil Foden came up trumps when called upon and got a vital game-winning goal against Tottenham late in the season
Getty Images

Manchester United – Mason Greenwood

Greenwood has had a stunning season for the Under-18s and the Under-23s and he was rewarded with a starting spot in United’s last match of the season against Cardiff.

He put in a good performances for the Red Devils and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet after hitting the post.

He will be hoping he can replicate Marcus Rashford’s rise up the rankings and he will surely get more opportunities under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Newcastle United – Sean Longstaff

Longstaff was having a superb season before it was cruelly cut short with a knee injury.

He seemingly made the holding midfield spot his own in Rafa Benitez’s set-up and we can expect the same next season.

Norwich – Louis Thompson

Thompson could break through the ranks at Carrow Road next season

Many Norwich stars have had brilliant seasons in the Championship and they will likely have a similar line-up next campaign.

However, Thompson, the holding midfielder, could become a first XI regular for the Canaries next term.

He has recently been called up to the Welsh national team after putting in some assured displays in the middle of the park in Daniel Farke’s side.

It will be difficult but he has what it takes to make a name for himself in the Premier League next season.

Southampton – Kayne Ramsay

Ralph Hasenhuttl, bearing in mind the game was against Manchester City, threw Ramsay in at the deep end for his debut in December and he acquitted himself well.

The 18-year-old ex-Chelsea prodigy also featured in the FA Cup, playing at centre-back against Derby County and next season he could cement a spot at right-back in the Saints’ back four.

Ramsay in action for the Saints
Getty Images

Sheffield United – Kieran Dowell

Dowell has been on loan at Sheffield United from Everton but has been very impressive for the Blades when featuring for them this season.

If he does sign permanently for the newly promoted side, he could become the key playmaker in Chris Wilder’s side on their return to the Premier League.

Tottenham  – Oliver Skipp

Skipp has done well when called upon by Spurs

Skipp, just like Harry Winks, is another player Mauricio Pochettino has shown great faith in.

The 18-year-old has made eight appearances for the Lilywhites this season and has looked the part in most of his outings.

He has a great calmness on the ball in midfield and will surely be given more chances in the starting XI next term

Watford – Juan Camilo Hernandez

Hernandez, 18, spent the season at Huesca on loan and has been one of few good performers for the LaLiga club.

The 20-year-old scored four goals and assisted three as his side were relegated to the second division.

Hernandez his career for Colombian side Deportivo Pereira, where he netted a stunning 23 goals in 55 games at the age of just 16-years-old.

West Ham – Grady Diangana

Diangana, 21, featured in 17 matches this season and was impressive in many of his outings, and uninspiring on other occasions.

The youngster needs to be given more game time in his natural position as it is clear he has bags of talent but must be given a run in the team.

Grady Diangana was restricted to substitute appearances towards the end of the season
Getty

Wolves – Morgan Gibbs-White

Gibbs-White is undoubtedly talented and has made 20 substitute appearances in the Premier League under Nuno Espirito Santo this season.

He has made five starts but will hope to add to them before the campaign ends.

A fine young playmaker, he should be pushing for regular starts next season and if he doesn’t get them he may need to make a decision on his future.

Chelsea transfer news: Blues youngster Reece James reportedly wanted by Brighton on season-long loan deal after award winning campaign at Wigan

22 May

Chelsea youngster Reece James has emerged as a summer transfer target for Brighton, according to reports.

James, 19, had an outstanding season on loan at Wigan as they successfully fought off relegation from the Championship.

Reece James is highly regarded at Chelsea
AFP or licensors

It proved to be an award-winning campaign for the England Under-20 international, who established himself as a real fan favourite at the DW Stadium.

That has led to no shortage of interest in the right-back’s services, with the Seagulls one of the clubs vying to bring him on loan for the 2019/20 season – according to the Sun.

They will face a battle to land James, who recently joined the Chelsea first-team on a post-season trip to the USA, with Manchester United and Liverpool also reportedly interested in signing him.

Getty Images - Getty
James, 19, enjoyed an outstanding season on loan at Championship side Wigan[/caption]

James came up against new Brighton boss Graham Potter twice last season while he was in charge of Swansea.

It will be a waiting game for Potter and co as to whether they will land James though, with Chelsea yet to ratify their summer plans following their FIFA transfer ban.

Another season on loan could prove pivotal in James’ long-term development, with the possibility of regular football at Stamford Bridge next season unlikely.

How Chelsea could line-up at the start of next season without Eden Hazard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi

19 May

There is plenty of uncertainty as to who will be available for Chelsea at the start of next season.

With an impending transfer ban coupled with the potential loss of Eden Hazard this summer there is sure to be plenty of changes.

Maurizio Sarri will have decisions to make when it comes to his team next season
Getty

It is looking increasingly likely that Hazard will join Real Madrid during the transfer window with reports suggesting the deal could be announced following the Europa League final with Arsenal.

The Blues will have to promote from within as they are due to be banned from signing any players for the next two transfer windows.

They are appealing the decision but may have to start planning for the worst case scenario.

Eden Hazard looks likely to leave Chelsea in the summer
Getty

Maurizio Sarri is also unlikely to be able to call on two of his brightest young talents who are set to miss the start of next season through injury.

Callum Hudson-Odoi ruptured his Achilles in April and had to have surgery. Even the most optimistic of timescales on his recovery have him missing the start of the season.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek suffered a similar injury in a charity friendly against New England Revolution and also faces a significant spell on the sidelines.

Striker Olivier Giroud is also out of contract in the summer and could leave the club while the loan spells of Mateo Kovacic and Gonzalo Higuain will have ended and are n.

Here at talkSPORT.com we have looked at how the Blues could line-up when the season starts in August.

How Chelsea could line-up at the start of next season
Getty

Not much is likely to change in the Chelsea defence unless Ethan Ampadu or Reece James can push for a starting place.

We could be seeing plenty of the young pair next season but Sarri may want to start with experience rather than throwing the pair in at the deep end.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek injured his ankle in a charity friendly
Getty

In the midfield three, Loftus-Cheek will be injured and Mateo Kovacic back at Real Madrid.

Mason Mount has been impressive at Derby this season with nine goals and four assists in the Championship.

Christian Pulisic will return from his loan at Borussia Dortmund and likely to go straight into the starting XI as a possible replacement for Eden Hazard.

Callum Hudson-Odoi is set for months on the sidelines

Striking options will be limited without Olivier Giroud and Gonzalo Higuain while Hazard was also used up front this season.

Tammy Abraham has 26 Championship goals this season and could be recalled to fill that gap.

Chelsea loanee Reece James to be given Wigan captaincy during grand send-off

3 May

Chelsea loanee Reece James will captain Wigan in his final game for the club.

The 19-year-old full-back has been a revelation for the Latics, who have already ensured their Championship survival ahead of Sunday’s last-day clash with Millwall.

James has made 45 appearances and scored two goals for Wigan

James’ first season in senior football has seen him named in the Championship Team of the Year, alongside fellow Blues loanee Tammy Abraham.

And Latics boss Paul Cook plans on giving the teenager a fitting send-off.

James will be handed the captaincy and leave the field to a standing ovation at the DW Stadium – a huge honour given his age and the brevity of his time at the club.

“Reece will captain the team on Sunday and it’s likely that we’ll bring him off during the latter stages so that our supporters can give him the ovation he deserves,” Cook said.


EFL EXPERT EYEReece James: What those in the know say about the Chelsea loanee who has starred for Wigan in the Championship this season


James’ performances at the DW Stadium can only boost his chances of breaking into the Chelsea team, especially given the two-window transfer ban imposed on the club by FIFA.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, 18, has enjoyed a breakthrough season at Stamford Bridge, as has fellow academy graduate Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Reece James: What those in the know say about the Chelsea loanee who has starred for Wigan in the Championship this season

24 Apr

Reece James has been one of the stars of the Championship this season where the young Chelsea defender has excelled during his season-long loan spell at Wigan.

James, 19, is highly regarded at Stamford Bridge and is set for a bright future in the game.

Reece James has been outstanding on loan at Wigan this season

The boyhood Blues fan, who played alongside England starlet Callum Hudson-Odoi through the youth ranks at the club, has missed just one game across all competitions for the Latics.

James is a tough tackling and forceful full-back, earning rave reviews for his performances throughout this season.

At this tender age he has already been likened to Kyle Walker, called up to train with the England senior squad and, earlier this month, collected his award for making the Championship Team of the Season.

The young full-back played an integral role in Chelsea Under-18′ FA Youth Cup final win last season

LIVE ON talkSPORT

talkSPORT is your home of live football! Here's what's coming up on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2...

  • Sheffield United vs Ipswich (Saturday, 5:15pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Brighton vs Newcastle (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Norwich vs Blackburn (Saturday, 7:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Leeds United vs Aston Villa (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Coventry vs Shrewsbury (Sunday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2

James has a wise head on young shoulders, revealing he turned down several other temporary moves in January as he felt his progress would be best served by staying in Lancashire.

Manchester United are reportedly tracking the £15million-rated defender, who has also attracted interest from Premier League duo Crystal Palace and Brighton.

So what have those in the know said about the talented youngster?


Wigan boss Paul Cook

“He is so self-confident, and that is backed up by his ability and work ethic.

“All season he has been showing people that he has a very strong career ahead of him, and we are delighted to be playing a small part in his progression.”

Paul Cook is a big admirer of the Chelsea loanee

“He’s player of the month every month, and he’s man of the match almost every week. “And he’s as good a lad as he is a player. There’s nothing else I can say about him.”

Derby assistant Jody Morris (James’ former Chelsea U18 head coach

Jody Morris is a big fan of James – but is unsure if he is Chelsea captain material

Leeds legend Eddie Gray

“He is a good footballer. He has an eye for goal as well, he is willing to take chances and take shots on goal.

“He is powerful, willing to run with the ball and is a good player.”

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard

“I did a lot of work with the Academy at Chelsea last year and I saw a lot of him, trained with him a lot.

“It was very evident the player he already is – and the player he will hopefully become.”

Chelsea: How the Blues could line-up next season with some of their on loan stars, including Christian Pulisic

16 Apr

Chelsea’s season has been a turbulent one.

Supporters are fed up with the manager, the owner has been exiled and the club can’t even sign any players because of their two-window transfer ban.

However, there are still some reasons to be optimistic if you’re a Blues fan.

Chelsea are in disarray

Chelsea can still qualify for the Champions League – most likely by winning the Europa League – and their transfer ban may be overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with the appeal currently in process.

However, should the transfer ban remain, Chelsea have hugely talented loan stars littered around the continent – and a ban could be the perfect way for the Blues could to  demonstrate just how good their home-grown players are.

talkSPORT.com has had a look at Chelsea’s current ‘loan army’ and assessed what a Blues team could like with some of their loan stars in the coming years.


Formation: 4-3-3

Goalkeeper: Kepa Arrizabalaga

Kepa arrived at Stamford Bridge last summer and will likely be between the sticks for the Blues for many seasons to come.

The club record signing has enjoyed a solid first campaign at Stamford Bridge and is almost certain to stay.

Kepa is likely to remain as Chelsea’s no.1 for years to come

Defenders: Reece James, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori, Jay Dasilva

Reece James has been a revelation for Championship strugglers Wigan this season.

The right-back, who can also play in midfield, has won Player of the Month for Wigan four times and was also named in the Sky Bet Team of the Year for his stellar efforts.

Last week, the 19-year-old displayed his talents once again by bagging a world class opener for the Latics against Bristol City.

Another star performer in the Championship has been Derby’s Fikayo Tomori.

Tomori and Mount have shined for Derby this season

Tomori has been an ever-present at the heart of defence throughout the campaign, starting 45 matches and playing more than any other of all the Chelsea loanees across Europe.

His impressive performances has seen him claim Derby’s Supporters’ Player of the Season award over fellow Chelsea loanee Mason Mount.

Finally, Jay Dasilva, 20, has been brilliant for Bristol City in their push for promotion.

He put in a Man of the Match display against West Brom last week and has become an indispensable member of the Robins squad.

He has been likened to Ashley Cole for his style of play and the Blues will no doubt be aware of the superb progress he has made in the Championship.

Either Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma, who are both hugely talented, could take up the other centre-back spot.

Dasilva has flourished for Bristol City this season

Midfield: Tiemoue Bakayoko, Mason Mount, Loftus-Cheek

Tiemoue Bakayoko has been hugely impressive for AC Milan since he signed on loan for the Serie A outfit.

He struggled at first but has since been a mainstay in the Rossoneri midfield and has shown his ability to cut out opposition attacks and break up play and then help the transistion too.

Chelsea will no doubt be aware of his form and could take a risk on their £32.5million midfielder to see if his experience in Italy has given him the necessary skills to cut it in the English top-flight.

Bakayoko had a slow start in Milan but has come into his own for the Rossoneri

Derby midfielder Mason Mount has also enjoyed a brilliant season and that continued on the weekend as he netted a hat-trick against Bolton.

The 20-year-old has excelled under Frank Lampard this season, netting eight goals and adding three assists in 20 league matches.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has put in some commanding performances for Chelsea in recent weeks, could make the central midfield spot his own in the coming years should he remain injury-free.

Forwards: Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi

Many forget that Dortmund star Christian Pulisic was signed in January.

The American winger was sent back on loan to the Bundesliga side and could dazzle for the Blues next season.

There is no doubting he has talent as if he didn’t he would not have sprung onto the scene with Dortmund at the ripe age of 18.

Abraham has netted 24 Championship goals this season

Aston Villa striker Tammy Abraham is also having  a prolific season in the Championship.

He has netted 24 goals in 36 matches this season and is the league’s second top scorer.

The 21-year-old’s form may be too good for Chelsea to pass down and he could be the striker that the Blues have craved since Diego Costa left.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, who is still just 18 years old, has a huge future ahead of him and has what it takes to get to the top should he be given the chance, with Eden Hazard seemingly set to leave for Real Madrid.

Is this team the future for Chelsea? Have a look at the line-up in full below…

Could any of these Chelsea loanees be in the Blues line-up soon?