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'You're in the lights' - Chelsea star James says Premier League players right to speak out about racist abuse online

20:11 BST 14/07/2020
Reece James Chelsea
The Crystal Palace and Sheffield United strikers were targeted on social media across the last round of matchdays, facing racial slurs and imagery

Chelsea youngster Reece James has backed Wilfried Zaha and David McGoldrick's decisions to speak out over the racist abuse they received over the weekend, stating that Premier League players are right to take such matters public.

Crystal Palace striker Zaha and Sheffield United forward McGoldrick were the targets of racial slurs and imagery on social media across the last round of matchdays in the top-flight.

Both players later took to their social media accounts to condemn the abuse, prompting strong support from clubs and sparking police investigations into both incidents, with West Midlands Police arresting a 12-year-old boy in connection with the former incident.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea's encounter with Norwich on Tuesday, Blues starlet James agreed that Zaha and McGoldrick made the right choice in electing to come forward with the matter, 

“I think if you are a player that has faces racial abuse you should come out and say it,” the 20-year-old told talkSPORT. “As a Premier League football player, you’re in the lights a lot.

“A lot of people have a lot to say when you’re doing well and when you’re not doing so well. You should definitely come out and talk about it.”

Elsewhere, James reaffirmed Frank Lampard's side's Champions League aspirations as remaining unchanged, even with Manchester City's European ban for Financial Fair Play breaches overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

If City had remained barred from continental action, a fifth-place finish in the Premier League would have feasibly been enough for Chelsea to qualify - but they will now have to ensure a top-four finish to achieve their ambition, with Leicester City and Manchester United trailing them by just a point with three games to go.

“I think if they are in or out of it, either way I think the focus is the same,” the full-back added. “We can’t let someone else’s position dictate our goal. Either way, our aim was to win the rest of our games and finish in style.

“We need to give our all in the next few days. Everyone knows the aims and goals of this club and we need to give our everything for the fans. We have to revert back to working hard and being more clinical and taking our chances when we get them."