Reece James is setting his sights on first-team football at Chelsea after enjoying a breakthrough campaign in 2018-19.
At 19 years of age, a Stamford Bridge academy graduate believes he is ready to grace the senior stage.
He proved as much during a productive season-long loan at Championship side Wigan that saw him named the club’s Player of the Year.
Vital experience was collected with the Latics as they fended off the threat of relegation in the second tier, with James starring as a mainstay in their side.
He stepped off the bench in that contest in the United States and hopes to have done enough to force his way into the thoughts of Blues boss Maurizio Sarri.
James, who can operate in defence or midfield, told Chelsea’s official website of his future targets: “I’ve always had that dream of coming on and playing for my boyhood club, and I am thankful I got to fulfil it.
“It’s a dream come true.
“It is great involvement for me, getting to play with players I have watched as I have been coming through at Chelsea, players who have won Champions Leagues, World Cups.
“I found out a few days before I would be coming out on the trip and I was really excited. I just take in my stride really. I remain focused and now I will try and help the squad build up to the Europa League final.”
James added on his experiences at the DW Stadium: “It was a very good season at Wigan.
“Playing week in week out at a decent level was a good achievement. This is the icing on the cake and hopefully it’s just the start.”
James penned a four-year contract with Chelsea last summer that is due to take him through to 2022.
He is yet to take in a competitive outing for the club, but will be looking to stake his claim for a place in Sarri’s squad for 2019-20 during the Blues’ pre-season campaign.