Chelsea loanee Reece James explains his reasons and excitement at joining the journey with Latics.
- Reaction: Chelsea and England youth international Reece James on signing on loan for Wigan Athletic.
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Speaking at the Wigan Athletic Training Centre after agreeing a season-long loan deal from Chelsea, 18-year-old defender Reece James shared his first impressions and his excitement at linking up with manager Paul Cook and his Sky Bet League One champions as they head into the Sky Bet Championship.
"There were some different options available," James began.
"I chose to come to Wigan Athletic because it's a great club and I'm looking forward to playing my part.
"I've been watching the team play for a while now and I was very impressed by what the team achieved last season in winning League One.
"I really like the way the manager has the boys playing football, for any young player it's an attractive style to want to fit into. I like the way the gaffer works here and he's been very good with me through the whole process of signing on loan."
James, a multiple time treble winner with Chelsea's youth team and 2018 Academy Player of the Year, said his academy schooling and Chelsea's desire to win matches the ambitions of Cook and his Latics squad, another big part in his decision to join the journey for 2018-19.
"My upbringing at Chelsea has been very good and I've learned the ins and outs of what is expected and the standards you're asked to keep, which from my first impressions is exactly the same here at Wigan Athletic.
"Winning is a major part of the mentality at Chelsea and it seems the same here. Training and playing with some of the best players in the country has helped me to focus on winning football matches.
"I want to transfer what I've learned from playing youth football at Chelsea into first team football and I'm thankful to the manager at Wigan for giving me this chance. It feels like it's the right time for me."
So what can we expect from Reece on the pitch?
"As a right full back my best attribute is my crossing. I like the freedom of getting up the right side of the pitch and picking someone out in the middle, it's even more attractive for a full back when you have strikers like Will Grigg, James Vaughan and Devante Cole in the box waiting.
"I'll work hard for the team and the fans. I know fans want hard working players, everyone should expect that in football, so I'll put the effort in that the fans want to see."
An England youth international, James was part of the 2017 U19 European Championship winning team and the England side that captured the 2017 Toulon Tournament crown. On those achievements, James added:
"Playing for my country has been a great experience and we've been blessed with a great team over the past few years. It's another part of the learning process because players come together from different clubs and share how they approach the game. It's encouraging to see so many good young players coming through and getting opportunities for England."
James will be straight into pre-season training with the squad and is already looking ahead to life as a Championship player.
"There are some huge games this season in the Championship, starting with the first game against Sheffield Wednesday because I know there will be a big crowd on. It'll be a new experience for me, but I have had a taste of first team atmospheres when I played against Lincoln City and Exeter City in the Checkatrade Trophy last season. It was a full house at Lincoln and it was a great experience.
"It will be a step up when we travel to grounds like Villa Park, but it's all part of the challenge and if I get a chance to play in those games then I'll meet the challenge head on."