Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has suggested that Reece James has the potential to become a midfielder at Stamford Bridge in the coming years.
James started for the Blues against Crystal Palace in a 2-0 victory and thoroughly impressed when facing up against tricky winger Wilfried Zaha.
Lampard’s youthful revolution is well underway, with the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori all becoming key starters for Chelsea this season.
“Whether it be there, right wing-back or right of a three. As he’s coming in to the team, you’d see him there but he does have that all-round game that he could handle playing centrally in midfield if needs be.”
James operated competently in a defensive midfield role 13 times last season while on loan at Wigan in the Championship.
Lampard continued: “At the moment we’ve got good players in there who are used to playing in there anyway, but he could always do that as he matures through his career.”
James started ahead of Cesar Azpilicueta on Saturday in an unexpected alteration to Chelsea’s starting lineup, however, Lampard knows how important rotation will be as the season progresses.
He claimed: “He [Azpilicueta] took it, as I thought he would do, as a perfect professional and it was not a problem.
“He wants to play, of course he does, but I think he also understands the quality of Reece.
“He’s [Azpilicueta] played every game barring the Carabao Cup, and every minute of the games, so I don’t think it’s the worst for him to have a bit of a rest and now he can go away and have a rest.”
Lampard has given Chelsea a new lease of life this season, with the Blues currently sitting in third place in the Premier League and playing some breathtaking football this season.