Reece James

Reece James has hailed the impact of summer signings Thiago Silva and Hakim Ziyech on his own game and Chelsea’s positive start to the season.

The England right-back, 20, has enjoyed a flying start to the campaign and earned plaudits for his crossing abilities as well as defensive attributes.

Reece James is expected to start for England in their Wembley friendly against Republic of Ireland on Thursday night.

And despite being suspended for this week’s UEFA Nations League games against Belgium and Iceland, he is set to challenge for a starting place in Gareth Southgate’s side at Euro 2020 next summer.

Ziyech, a £36million signing from Ajax, has started to make an impact after overcoming a knee injury at the start of the season. The Moroccan has scored twice and contributed three assists in his last four Chelsea outings.

Veteran Brazilian defender Silva, 36, signed on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, has brought his authority and leadership to a Chelsea back line that was often vulnerable last season.

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Reece James has already forged a good understanding with both and told The Athletic: ‘Thiago has brought a lot of experience. I have played alongside him a few times now. He has helped me a lot.

‘You can see straight away why he has been one of the best in the world.

‘He constantly talks to me throughout games, helping me in my positioning, directing me and making sure he is talking to me before, during and after games. It all adds up and improves performances.

‘Further forward, there have been signs with Hakim in training. Ever since he arrived, we got on well. I knew I would be playing behind him.

‘We clicked early and tried to build this connection in training to use this season. His left foot is just unbelievably good.’

Reece James scored in Chelsea’s win over Brighton on the opening weekend and has added two assists since.

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Manager Lampard spoke about the flourishing partnership between James and Ziyech on Chelsea’s right side ahead of last Saturday’s 4-1 win over Sheffield United.

‘That was part of my thinking when Hakim Ziyech came to the club, the balance of the sides of the pitch which is very important for us,’ he said.

‘We knew Reece’s quality last year in terms of crossing. And when you think you can have a winger in front of him that can offer different angles and combinations on that side to put ball into the box, then I think it can be a big strength of ours.’

Chelsea return to action after the internationals with a trip to Newcastle United next Saturday before resuming their Champions League campaign with a trip to Rennes on November 24.

9jatalks Sports


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