Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin has praised Reece James’ performance in the 3-1 over Brighton and highlighted the defender’s display in midfield.
His spectacular long-range goal might have stolen the headlines but the 20-year-old put on an outstanding display overall and was deservedly named the man of the match.
Many see James as a potential successor for Cesar Azpilicueta as a right-back, but Frank Lampard is clearly aware of the fullback’s versatility.
Lampard used James in midfield in the last five-plus minutes of the game, although Billy Gilmour and Mateo Kovacic’s absences also mean Lampard had little options.
Nevin was impressed by James was during the brief period and pointed out at how comfortable the defender was in midfield.
He wrote in his column on Chelsea’s official website: “I digress. Jorginho went off, Cesar Azpilicueta sprinted on and Reece James languidly stepped into midfield and looked like he owned the area within seconds.”
Nevin argued that James would have a hard time making the England squad given Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold’s incredible form.
“Reece could however be a central midfield colossus for the club in the months and years to come.
“And if Gareth Southgate wants, maybe that is how he eventually fits both into the Three Lions’ set-up together,” he added.
It was not a new experience for James who often played in midfield during his loan spell at Wigan two seasons ago.
Those performances as a defensive midfielder Also helped him win Wigan’s player of the year award.