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Reece James Reveals the Turning Point in His Chelsea Career as a Teenager
- Chelsea defender Reece James is one of the best right-backs in the Premier League and Europe
- He came through the Cobham academy and made his senior debut under Frank Lampard
- The Blues' 23-year-old star has opened up on the turning point in his career as a teenager
Chelsea has one of the best academies in the world and have produced outstanding talents at the Cobham facilities, but only a few have made it into the first team at the club.
Former owner, Roman Abramovich's relentless spending made it hard for academy graduates to make the first team.
It took a two-window transfer ban for the gates to open for the youngster into the senior team.
Frank Lampard opened the pathway in the 2019/20 season and there has been significant progress since then. The legend debuted eight academy players, including current first-team stars, Reece James and Mason Mount, as reported by Tribuna.
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James reveals career turning point
As reported by Athletic UK, James is one of Chelsea's highest-paid players, with a salary of £250,000 per week. He reflected on his progress through grassroots football in an interview with England Football.
“There was probably a stage where I was close to getting released around the age of 15 or 16. I was probably one of the worst in the group and they were unsure of how I was going to develop,” he said.
However, James said the club took a gamble on him by awarding him a contract.
“...I had to work hard to prove to people that I can play and achieve what I want to achieve,” he added.
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James on his position change
The powerful defender began his career as a striker before moving to midfield and later to right-back. He named former striker, Didier Drogba as his idol.
“When I was growing up, I was a striker and I idolised [Drogba]. He played in my team, he played in my position and I always looked up to him. I just wanted to be like him, score like him and celebrate like him,” he said.
“I stopped playing striker around the age of 11 or 12 and moved my way back into midfield. I had three or four years there and then found myself at right back around the age of 15,” he added.
James dreams of Droga partnership
James is one of the best crossers in the world right now, while Drogba was one of the best headers.
As Sports Brief reported, the Blues star picked the former player as one he would love to play with.
Drogba left Chelsea for a second time in 2015 while James debuted in 2019, after the Ivorian retired.