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'Beckham is a legend' - Chelsea's James flattered by comparisons to England idol

02:18 GMT 17/01/2020
Reece James Chelsea 2019-20
The young defender signed a new contract on Thursday which extends his stay at the Blues - his home since the age of six - for another five years

Chelsea defender Reece James has admitted he is delighted to be compared to David Beckham, whom he described as a "legend" and one of the best crossers of all time. 

James, 20, was left celebrating on Thursday after extending his stay at Stamford Bridge through to 2025

The right-back has burst onto the scene this season, playing a big part in Frank Lampard's plans during the Chelsea idol's debut season on the bench. 

His crossing ability in particular has caught the eye, leading to parallels being drawn with another specialist who used to rule the Premier League

But James will not be distracted by the Beckham comparison, although he suggested that he was also capable of turning a few heads with his dead-ball prowess.

"David Beckham is a legend and probably one of the best crossers of the ball there has been in world football," he told Chelsea's official website

"To be mentioned in the same sentence as his crossing is very good for me but he did it for many years and I have to respect what he did.

"I have only done it for a few games. A lot of people have said about it but I need to maintain it and keep on improving.

"If there is a free-kick there and it is for me, I would not put it past me. It is similar skill, not too much difference."

James had to wait for his first-team opportunity in 2019-20, a season where fellow Blues youngster Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi have also made their mark. 

An ankle problem meant that his campaign only began at the end of September, when he made his season bow in a Carabao Cup thrashing of Grimsby. 

He has since staked out a regular place in the starting line-up and is over the moon to be playing week-in, week-out at a club he has represented since he was six.

"Being injured at the start of the season was tough and then I slowly got back into it and I was given my chance against Grimsby, scoring on my debut was great, and ever since then I haven’t really looked back," he added.

"We started talking about a new contract about two months ago. When I started getting in the team and playing week in week out, everything has picked up.

"I have been here nearly my whole life and I would be happy to spend the rest of my career here. It is the club I have supported throughout and I have committed long-term.

"Obviously it is going to be tough when everyone else is getting their chance and you are out injured on the sidelines, but you just have to get back right and take time and then make sure when you get your chance you take it. It took a bit longer to get back than I was expecting but you just have to take it how it comes."