'Beautifully balanced': BBC pundit says Chelsea star may be PL's 'most improved' player in 2021

Garth Crooks has claimed that Chelsea youngster Reece James may be the most improved player across the entire Premier League in 2021.

James, 22, is a super talent that’s gone from strength to strength in this calendar year.

His rise has coincided with Thomas Tuchel’s appointment as Blues manager in January, albeit ex-manager Frank Lampard deserves immense praise for originally introducing him to the first team at Stamford Bridge.

The England international has been superb in the right wing-back position and was part of the team that won the Champions League final in May. In addition, his form has been sensational this season in the second half of the year, scoring five goals and making six assists in 23 appearances.

Unfortunately, he was forced off injured in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against Brighton and supporters are sweating over the extent of the problem. It’s a massive shame because he’s arguably been the club’s player of the season so far.

BBC pundit Crooks has raved about Chelsea academy graduate James after including him in his team of the year.

“Arguably the most improved Premier League player this year. Strong, beautifully balanced and can strike the ball brilliantly with both feet. He’s also quick and tremendously competitive,” Crooks wrote.

“If he can raise his level of consistency there is no telling where this kid could end up. That said, under Tuchel and at a club as big as Chelsea there’s no reason for the player to go anywhere.”

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

James would be mammoth Chelsea loss

Yes, Crooks is spot on with his high praise of Chelsea youngster James. He’s definitely elevated his game to new heights this year and is only getting better, too.

However, it’s alarming to think the Blues could end up without him for a period of time.

With Ben Chilwell already sidelined, losing opposite wing-back James at the same time would be horrific.

The England pair are so effective for Tuchel’s side when they are on the pitch together and there is quite the drop off when either don’t play.

Chelsea fans can just pray for some positive news from Tuchel in his press conference on Friday morning.

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Dom is a Chelsea supporter who has worked in online publishing for more than six years. Graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016, he now writes exclusively for The Chelsea Chronicle covering news, analysis and match coverage. He enjoys the dream position of writing about his boyhood club, which seems to be involved in more drama every single day than an episode of The Bill. Aside from his love for Chelsea, he supports and follows the England cricket team. He also fancies himself as the Sunday League version of Michael Essien.