Reece James ChelseaGetty Images

'I never wanted to play right-back!' - James reveals defensive distastes in Chelsea career

Reece James has revealed that he did not want to play at right-back during his Chelsea academy days, but admitted that it helped him realise his dreams of turning professional as a teenager.

The Blues star has made his name over the past few seasons as one of the most promising defensive talents in the British game, with Champions League glory and Euro 2020 silver-medal honours to match.

But now, the England international has acknowledged that he bristled for several years at the decision to move him from his original midfield position during his youth at the club's Cobham base.

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What has been said?

"When I first arrived at Chelsea, I was a striker but then moved to midfield for a couple of seasons," James told the club's website.

"Then, when I was about 15, I found myself playing right-back because there were better players in midfield. I hated it for maybe two or three years and never wanted to play there!

"But one day it just clicked and I started loving it. I think the penny just dropped that I wouldn’t be playing midfield anymore and this was my new position.

"[Then] I signed my first professional contract when I was 17. I wanted to be a professional ever since I was a young boy here. I was over the moon."

James on "dream" debut

Just under two years on from his first senior game for the club, the 21-year-old was on hand to net for the Blues in victory against Arsenal in the Premier League last weekend.

James also found himself on the scoresheet when he made his bow in a 7-1 Carabao Cup rout of Grismby in September 2019, and admitted that it could not have been a finer occasion.

"It was a dream come true to make my debut at Stamford Bridge and to score as well," he added.

"Every time I went to Stamford Bridge as a kid I always wondered what it was like to walk out with the crowd cheering and that was the day I did it."

The bigger picture

James will hope to be among Gareth Southgate's plans for September's Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers when the Three Lions boss names his squad later this week.

Having come up agonisingly short at Wembley in the Euro 2020 final against Italy, England will be out to bounce back on the road to next winter's showpiece tournament.

Before then however, James will have his eyes firmly upon another potentially season-defining early doors clash when Chelsea face Liverpool this weekend.

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