'I love him': Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea player is absolutely brilliant in two positions
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has raved about his player Reece James by describing him as brilliant in two different positions.
James, 22, has made his name as a full-back during what’s been a really exciting start to his young career.
The Englishman is a massive attacking threat in a wing-back role at Chelsea, scoring six goals and making seven assists already this season.
However, he’s shown in the past couple of games how effective he can be as a centre-back.
The England international has filled in as a right-sided centre-half in a back three, which has seen him put in one-on-one individual duels with Vinicius Junior and Wilfried Zaha.
He’s a powerhouse defender that attackers absolutely hate facing with his strength and speed, something he’s shown in the last week during games with Real Madrid and Crystal Palace.
Tuchel admits he’s not actually sure which role James is better in. He’s explained slotting him into the back three makes more sense to help with his recovery from an injury.
“I think the back three is less demanding physically in comparison to the wing-back position. Given he comes back from a long injury, a muscle injury, with the risk of a re-injury over so many weeks, it is a bit of an advantage to have him in a back three because it is less demanding physically” Tuchel explained.
“This is the next step: how many games can he play at wing-back if he plays wing-back during a season, and at a level where he is reliable and decisive? It [right centre-back] is less demanding physically in terms of accelerations, long acceleration, and high speed on a back three.
“That helps us have him on the pitch for more minutes. That’s why he plays in there. He can play both positions brilliantly. We only have him once so we need to decide but that’s the reason at the moment. I love him in both positions. I’m not sure (what his best position is).”
If you’re judging solely on individual ability, Chelsea’s James and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold have to be two of the most talented individuals in the entire England squad.
A great solution for Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate to squeeze both in would be James at centre-back, while Alexander-Arnold plays higher up the pitch at wing-back. However, the presence of Manchester City’s Kyle Walker does disturb that plan.
Chelsea are so fortunate to have James come out of their academy, as he could be a key player in the Blues XI for the next decade.