'At the moment': Southampton star really impressed by the attacking quality of Chelsea's 22-year-old this season

Kyle Walker-Peters admitted that he has used Chelsea’s Reece James as a template for the levels he wants to reach.

As quoted by the Evening Standard, the Southampton star praised James’ efficiency in the final third, something he aims to emulate.

Reece is right at the top

Few have been able to compete with Thomas Tuchel’s first-choice right wing-back this season.

Whenever available, he has been scoring goals and adding assists at a fair rate of knots.

No Premier League defender has scored more than the 22-year-old Cobham academy graduate (5) in 2021/22, whilst only Liverpool’s full-back duo have provided a higher number of assists.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Without the repeated trips to the treatment table, James’ numbers could be doubled or even tripled by now.

It is the latest absence that actually allowed Walker-Peters a stab at the senior England side.

He was called up by Gareth Southgate for the latest round of international friendlies, following the injury to his Chelsea counterpart.

Southgate’s full-back situation

Southampton’s young right-back played against Switzerland and the Ivory Coast, capping off what’s already been a fine individual campaign.

With the World Cup looming large, Southgate now has even more options at right-back to consider or ignore.

“The competition is tough, there are a lot of good players in that position,” said Walker-Peters.

“But all I can do is do the best I can back at Southampton until the end of the season, keep competing with those guys in terms of stats and performances and if I continue to do well then maybe I will get the call-up again.

“I’d probably say Trent (Alexander-Arnold) and Reece James, at the moment, are really, really effective in terms of their output, their assists and goals. I think I’ve definitely improved that this season.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

“There’s a few players I look at but I have to keep performing for Southampton and hopefully I can overtake those players.”

Along with James, Alexander-Arnold and Walker-Peters, the likes of Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier will also be hoping to reach the tournament in Qatar.

This is obviously a nice headache to have for Southgate, but one he certainly does not want to take the wrong ailment for.

Through purely neutral eyes, we think Reece should be on the plane…

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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.