“I knew I needed something that would make me stand out” – Defender tells Chelsea FC’s ‘Steps Up’ he has worked on different aspects of his game, including that sublime crossing ability.
- Latics defender Reece James on the crossing ability that is catching the eye during his loan spell with Wigan Athletic from Chelsea
- Reece spoke to Chelsea FC’s ‘Steps Up’ feature about his loan spell at the DW Stadium
- Reece James on his crossing: “I knew I needed something that would make me stand out from other players in my position and if you’re not playing against a top player it’s hard to get judged, so you have to work at something else which you can be judged on.”
Wigan Athletic’s on loan Chelsea FC star Reece James has been reporting back on the success of his stay at the DW in a ‘Steps Up’ feature with chelseafc.com this week.
Speaking to the Blues’ official website about his loan spell at Latics, James said:
“Obviously it’s a very tough league and there are no easy games. The bottom team can beat the top team and nothing is predictable, but overall I think it’s a really good standard.
“When I first got to Wigan it all felt very different because I’m so used to London, so moving and living by myself was a bit of a change but after I settled I became more comfortable and started enjoying it a bit more.
“When I first got there I didn’t really know anyone so getting to know my team-mates was the first step but they’re a sound bunch of lads.
“It’s a lot more physical and you have to be more focused because one small mistake could mean the three points are gone. A three-game week is very tough, not just physically. You have to be switched on for 90 minutes for three games in a week and in academy football you don’t often play three times a week, and if you do you’re expected to win anyway.
“Week in, week out you come up against players who test you differently. I’ve played against some who are very skilful, and others who are really powerful and will just try to kick it and get past you, so it’s about quickly recognising what strengths your opponent has and what you can do in order to stop them getting past you. Ezgjan Alioski at Leeds was very good and Martin Braithwaite at Middlesbrough last weekend was also very good.”
James has twice won the Currys PC World Wigan Player of the Month award at Latics with his crossing ability a particular stand out of his time in Paul Cook’s side. Something he’s worked hard on…
“I knew I needed something that would make me stand out from other players in my position and if you’re not playing against a top player it’s hard to get judged, so you have to work at something else which you can be judged on,” he explained. “Jody Morris and Joe Edwards at Chelsea helped me with that, I’ve done a lot of extra work on it and I’ve kind of found my way.”
As well as the crosses, free-kicks are also in James’ locker:
“It was a great experience scoring [my first goal] in such a big league and against such a good team. Being able to take the responsibility to be on set-pieces is also a bonus as well.
“Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea loan player technical coach) mentioned to me that just because other players are older it doesn’t mean you have to let them take it, show them what you’ve got, and it had an impact. I’d taken maybe two or three that went close before that, one hit the bar and one went just wide, so I could feel it coming and luckily it went in. Hopefully I’ll stay on them.”
And working with Cook is something the England U20 international has also reaped the benefits of.
“I just try my best to help the team in every game and we’ll see where we end up,” James continued. “Ever since I got here the manager has made me feel welcome and whenever I’m doing well he’ll tell me, and if I’m doing something which isn’t a problem just yet, but might be a problem in the future, he’ll show me a clip or try to explain it to me so it doesn’t become a problem. I think he’s a very good manager.”