Reece JamesEnglish Footballer
Reece James is an English footballer who plays as a right full-back for Chelsea FC.
• Date of birth: 8 December 1999
• Age: 22 years old
• Place of birth: London, England
• Nationality: English
• Position: Right-back
• Height: 179cm / 5ft 10ins
• Weight: 91kg / 200lbs
• Wages: £100,000 per week (Reported)
The 22-year-old was given his chance to shine in the Chelsea FC first team by Frank Lampard and the talented right-back has not looked back since then.
James began his youth career at Chelsea FC, despite also having a short spell with fellow London club Fulham when he was seven years old.
He quickly progressed through the youth set-up at the Stamford Bridge club and made his first-team debut for the south west London side in September 2019.
James has represented England at multiple youth levels and made his senior debut for the national team in 2020.
So, what do we know about James’ impressive rise to becoming the talented full-back he is today? This is his story.
Early Life, Parents And Upbringing
Reece James was born on 8 December 1999 in Redbridge, London. His father, Nigel James, is a football coach and his mother, Emma, worked for the NHS.
Reece comes from a footballing family. His sister, Lauren James, is also a professional footballer, having started her youth career at Chelsea FC. Reece’s older brother Joshua was also an aspiring footballer who was on the books of Fulham and Reading.
“We grew up as a three,” Reece said of his brother and sister. “Obviously, Josh learned from my dad and then it just passed its way down. I started playing because my brother played, and my sister played because I played.
“We all used to play every day together at the park and over time we all gradually got better. There was a field behind my house, with two pitches, and every day I’d be playing football, either in the field or in the street.”
The James family moved to west London when Reece was about two years old and the defender says it was therefore “natural” for Chelsea FC to become his team.
“We moved to west London when I was about two, so I grew up in this area, not too far from Stamford Bridge, and it was natural for them to become my team,” James explains.
“My brother was a United fan and me and my sister were always Chelsea. When I first supported them, it would have been the team with Arjen Robben, Didier Drogba, Petr Cech, John Terry and Frank Lampard.”
Reece began training with Chelsea FC when he was just six years old, and although he had a short spell with west London rivals Fulham early on, he ended up sticking with the Blues and turned professional in March 2017.
James started out mostly as a striker before moving back to midfield and defence. He made his Chelsea FC youth team debut while still a schoolboy in the 2015-16 season, before becoming a key figure in the Blues’ Treble-winning Under-18 campaign the following year.
James signed his first professional contract with Chelsea FC in March 2017 and continued his rapid rise with some sparkling performances for the south west London side’s youth teams.
In the 2017-18 campaign, James captained the Chelsea FC Under-18s to an FA Youth Cup triumph was named as the club’s academy player of the season.
James’ excellent form was rewarded when he was handed a new four-year contract in June 2018. He was subsequently sent out on loan to Wigan Athletic for the 2018-19 campaign.
Following the appointment of Frank Lampard as the club’s manager in the summer of 2019, James was offered some chances to shine in the first team.
James made his first-team debut for Chelsea FC on 25 September 2019, when he scored one and set up two others in a 7-1 victory over Grimsby Town in the League Cup third round.
“With his end product, Reece James showed what he can do,” Blues boss Lampard said after the game. “Two assists and a goal, but Reece’s performances on loan last year at Wigan showed the talent he has got. I think he is going to be a big player for this club. It is just the start for Reece.”
James then made his Premier League debut for Chelsea FC on 19 October 2019, when he came off the bench in a 1-0 home victory over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge. He then made his starting debut in the English top flight in a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace on 9 November 2019.
The full-back’s impressive form under Lampard had not gone unnoticed, and Chelsea FC rewarded him for his fine performances with a new long-term contract in January 2020, committing him to the south west London side until the summer of 2025. His weekly salary was reported to be around £100,000 per week, according to English newspaper The Sun.
After penning his new deal, James could not hide his delight at committing his long-term future to his boyhood club.
“It has been my dream to be here at Chelsea and play week in week out and to have a contract for another five-and-a-half years is living the dream again,” said James at the time. “I have always wanted to be here and another five-and-a-half years means a lot to me and a lot to my family.”
James ended the 2019-20 season – which was disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic – with two goals in 37 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea FC.
The full-back continued his progress in the 2020-21 season, and despite Frank Lampard’s sacking in January 2021, played a key role in helping Chelsea FC to win the Champions League title under Thomas Tuchel.
The defender made one assist in 10 appearances in Europe’s elite club competition in the 2020-21 season to help the Blues win the Champions League trophy for a second time in their history. James played the full 90 minutes in the 1-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League final on 29 May 2021.
Reflecting on the Champions League final win, James said: “The greatest day of my life so far was the day we won the Champions League. We couldn’t have faced a better team at the time. Manchester City had just come off the back of winning the Premier League.”
James also pointed to the importance of his family in helping to support his career following the Champions League triumph.
“The celebrations afterwards were good, we had friends and family there and we had an event after,” he continued. “It was great for my sister to be there. She has been with me on my journey ever since I was a little boy, and now it’s special having her at the same club. My family are so proud that we are both back here playing for the teams we both dreamt of playing for.”
James has represented England at Under-18, Under-19, Under-20 and Under-21 level.
He made his senior debut for the national team in October 2020, when he came on as a substitute in a 3-0 win over Wales.
He made one appearance for England at Euro 2020, in the goalless draw with Scotland, as the Three Lions reached the final.
Life Away From The Pitch
Reece appears to enjoy keeping his personal live private and instead focus on his performances on the pitch for his club and country.
Reece’s sister Lauren, who plays as a forward, has spoken about how her brothers helped to spark her footballing career.
“All I ever knew was football, football and football,” Lauren said. “My brothers got me into football. Whether it was when Josh was at Fulham or when Reece was at the Chelsea academy, I was there kicking the ball against the fence. I’ve always had a football and it has just taken me to where I am now.”
What Have Others Said?
Frank Lampard on James’ performances for Chelsea FC, speaking in February 2020: “Reece is a weapon for us in attack with his crossing – we need to get on the end of them more – but he is also very solid defensively.
“When you think of his age, you can get excited about Reece. There’s a lot more he can do, obviously, but I’m really pleased with how he’s developing at the minute.
“There’s all sides to his game we can work on, although I’m not going to improve his crossing, he’s a bit of a natural. But at the same time we can talk about his position, his link-up with the winger who’s in front of him and the midfield.”
Former Liverpool FC star Jamie Carragher, speaking in November 2021: “I think Reece James is a great full-back or a great wing-back… When you look at Reece James, you think the power, the pace, the quality, the finish. He (Trent Alexander-Arnold) is certainly not as quick as Reece James.”