Chelsea defender Reece James has revealed that he is planning some changes to his pre-season work over the summer as he looks to get on top of the injury problems that have plagued him in recent months. James missed two months of this season with a hamstring problem and appears determined that the same will not happen again.
The 22-year-old ended the season with six goals and 10 assists in all competitions as Thomas Tuchel’s side finished third in the Premier League. But it is a campaign that could have brought so much more with James missing 15 matches due to injury throughout the campaign.
He is one of Tuchel’s star men and has even been linked with a transfer to Real Madrid, with Carlo Ancelotti reportedly keen to bring in the defender in the summer of 2023. But it will take a lot to pry him away from Stamford Bridge with Tuchel not shy in hiding his love for James. Although he also agreed that dodging those injury problems is his next challenge.
“I would love to have two of Reece James, that would solve the problem, it’s like 50% towards wing-back and 45% towards the back three,” Tuchel told a press conference in April when asked the Cobham graduate’s best position. “It depends a little bit on how the opponent plays against us. Do we expect a lot of possession, how is their structure for their offensive transition.
“For this it can sometimes be helpful for Reece to play in the back three and be the first guy to cover in the transition and to not be involved in the attack. We have his speed and physicality in the protection of the opponents counter-attack.
“I’m a bit more into that his very best position is the wing-back position where he is perhaps even more decisive, more useful but it is more demanding. The next step is to be a regular player over 50, 55, 60 matches and from there we have to decide that those positions are filled with top quality with him.”
Speaking to the official Chelsea websit…