Behind 20-year-old Chelsea right-back Reece James lie several priceless footballing building blocks.
One is a familiarity with his boyhood club, for whom he has impressed. Another is an invaluable stint at Wigan, where he completed his football graduation and football “meant more.”
But perhaps most crucial is James’ childhood of growing up in a family where football was played all day, every day, where age didn’t matter and comfort on the ball was habitual.
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March 8, 2020, 1:00pm
“All we did was play football, whenever we had a chance we’d be playing,” Reece tells Sky Sports.
“I had an older brother, Josh, who played, so I was looking up to him too. I was playing with his mates, two years older, and physically the gap is big. I got used to it quickly because I was playing with them so frequently.
“Dad and I would go through technical drills, and if you do that when you’re young, you pick it up much quicker when you’re older.”
Lauren, Reece’s sister, is in Manchester United Women’s first team, while his father Nigel runs an academy having been involved with non-League clubs. Reece was also fast-tracked to train with his older brother Josh at Fulham’s Under-9s, an impressive feat at grassroots level, but even more remarkable in a Premier League academy.
James has made waves in his first senior season st…