'Problem solved': Tuchel admits he wishes he could have three versions of the same Chelsea player in his squad

If Thomas Tuchel had a human-sized photocopier at Chelsea, he’d use it on Reece James.

Don’t believe us? Ask the man himself.

During his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s game against Manchester United, Tuchel confessed to wanting multiple duplicates of the young defender.

Team Reece

In fairness to the German coach, a full XI of just James’s probably wouldn’t be half bad.

The defence doesn’t even need discussing.

He has been known to play in central midfield as well, whilst playing out wide should come naturally as a full-back/ wing-back.

Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

Playing up front might feel a little weird at first, but the way Reece strikes a ball makes him a pretty worthy candidate for the number nine jersey.

Putting on the goalkeeper gloves will probably give the 5ft8in English the most problems.

However, his agility and ability in the air may come in handy (pardon the pun).

Of course, there is a serious point behind this rather silly notion.

Why does Tuchel want a trio of James’s?

Tuchel was asked to pick which position he believed best suited James: wing-back or centre-back in a back three?

“I would love to have two or three Reece James’s, then we would have the problem solved,” Chelsea manager replied only half-jokingly.

“It’s maybe a 55% toward wing-back and 45% toward the back three.

“It depends also how the opponent plays against us. Do we expect a lot of possession?

“How is there structure for their offensive transition? This can sometimes be very helpful for his if James plays in the back three to be the first guy to cover in the transition and not be involved in the attacks.

Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

“So we have his speed and physicality in the protection of the opponent’s counter-attacks. These are the thoughts about it.

“Like I said, I am leaning a bit more that his very best position is the wing-back position, where he is even more decisive, more useful, but it’s more demanding.”

Can’t keep a good man down

James has swapped between the two roles throughout the season.

Recently, the 22-year-old has found himself at centre-back, due to the absences of his fellow defenders.

But undoubtedly his best football this term has been achieved whilst marauding up and down the right channel.

At one stage, he was in a straight shoot-out with Ben Chilwell for Chelsea’s Golden Boot award.

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Sadly, both the Englishmen sustained injuries that stopped their personal battle in its tracks.

Tuchel must be pretty eager for the current campaign to conclude, so he can utilise the maximum capacity of his first-choice wing-backs.

Perhaps you could photocopy Chilwell a new leg?

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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.