'I've seen': Southgate thinks Chelsea star can actually play in three different positions

Gareth Southgate admitted that the variety of positions Reece James has picked up at Chelsea could benefit England this summer.

Speaking in his press conference, the Three Lions boss discussed his provisional 33-man European Championship squad.

One hot topic was the selection of four recognised right-backs. This included Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, whose call up had looked in doubt for some time.

James also made the cut- alongside Kieran Tripper and Kyle Walker- thanks to his excellent campaign for Chelsea.

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Gareth’s golden four

Southgate admitted that his quartet of full-backs could all be deployed in a manner of roles, with the Blues youngster arguably the most versatile of the bunch.

“In the last few days, I’ve seen Reece James play at the right of a three, at wing back and in the middle of midfield,” said the England manager.

“We go into a tournament and those sorts of flexible players that can fulfil different roles but are good footballers are going to be hugely important to us.”

A Reece for all occasions

It is encouraging to hear that Southgate has been doing his homework on his soldiers.

He is completely correct that in the past three weeks, James hasn’t stood still whilst featuring for Chelsea.

In fact, the only position he hasn’t covered in the last four club games was in his traditional right-back slot.

His wing-back duties were achieved in the home defeat to Arsenal.

Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Against Leicester City in the FA Cup final and Premier League, the 21-year-old started on the right-side of a back three.

This was his also his initial spot away to Aston Villa, but Thomas Tuchel shifted him into midfield in an attempt to claw the result back.

The ability to be so versatile puts James in good stead to make the finalised 26-man group for the Euros, which kicks off in less than a month.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.