Chelsea bounced back from their group defeat to Valencia in emphatic fashion with an impressive performance away at Lille in the Champions League, and Frank Lampard’s decision to start Reece James could represent the start of a breakthrough season for the impressive youngster in the Blues’ defence.
James, 19, put in an assured performance at right-back on Wednesday night as Lampard’s side secured a 2-1 victory over Christophe Galtier’s side to maintain their recent momentum in the 2019/20 campaign.
The 19-year-old was a key part of the Chelsea backline who, despite looking shaky at times towards the end of the match, ensured that the club registered a vital victory in their bid to qualify for the knock-out stages of Europe’s premier club competition.
After impressing on loan at Wigan Athletic during the 2018/19 campaign, a potential return to Stamford Bridge was touted for James, with many believing that the highly-skilled youngster had the potential to made the grade at his boyhood club given the quality of his performances in the Championship with Wigan.
The right-back is yet to play any minutes in the Premier League under Lampard, but a performance such as this coupled with victory for his side is likely to give his manager a headache as to whether the 19-year-old’s evident ability warrants a start in the Blues’ next league game against Southampton on Saturday.
Whilst Chelsea do have an abundance of options in defence presently, especially given the emergence of youth prospect Fikayo Tomori in a central role, James is displaying the talent that saw his gain considerable praise from his loan at the DW Stadium.
If the youngster can continue this form into domestic competition if given the opportunity, then Lampard could be faced with a sizeable dilemma as to whether he continues to start James, though there can be no doubting that the right-back has the ability to make a serious impact for Chelsea in the 2019/20 campaign.