Reece James reflects on his breakthrough season in the Sky Bet Championship and pays his respect to the football club after a remarkable loan spell with Latics.
- Latics Listen 36 – Reece James.
- James on his breakthrough season with Latics and the importance of finishing the season strongly against Millwall on Sunday at the DW Stadium.
- James has been acknowledged by the PFA, being named in the team of the year and winning the clubs Community Champion award.
Speaking on the latest episode of our podcast, Latics Listen, Reece James, who was named in the PFA’s Championship team of the year for the 2018-19 campaign, reflects on his memorable breakthrough campaign at the club, with the 19-year-old reflecting on his first full season as a professional.
“I remember arriving on the first day and it’s gone ever so quick, obviously that’s partly down to the lads making me feel welcome and at home at the football club.
“Before I arrived I didn’t quite know what to expect, I didn’t know what I was going in too. I just took it step by step and wanted to improve every day.”
Speaking on his relationship with the players, James spoke about the spirit with the dressing room and acclimatising to life at Wigan Athletic.
“There’s been a few of them who have been great with me since day one, Nathan (Byrne), Kal (Naismith) and Powelly (Nick Powell) have all made me feel welcome when I arrived and that reflects on the pitch, we’re all close on and off the pitch.”
Speaking on the season on a whole and the importance of bouncing back, James continued:
“You go through stages within the season where you’re not going to be getting the results you want; you’ve got to stick with it and get through it together and thankfully we did.
“As the season went on you know you’re going to have to go into every game with fight and desire and if you’re not prepared to give everything then you won’t get anything from the game.”
The Chelsea loanee, who will captain the side against Millwall on Sunday, also spoke on the relationship with the Latics’ faithful after winning the club’s PFA Community Champion award.
“It’s a fantastic feel when all the fans respect you and get behind you, I couldn’t ask for much more.
“There was a few events that I went too and it was a great experience spending time with the kids and giving them an experience that they will remember for sure.
“Being a first-team player is a lot different compared to the youth set-up at Chelsea, you have to grow up very fast and take everything smoothly.”
The midfielder, who missed out on Latics’ trip to Birmingham City last time out, reflected on the performance at St. Andrew's and spoke on his last game for the club against Millwall on Sunday.
“I would have rather been out there playing, but I had a rest and hopefully we can get a big three points on Sunday against Millwall to end the season strongly.
“I couldn’t thank everyone here enough and the opportunity that they have given me throughout this season, I’m glad it has gone very well.
“It’s always been my dream to break into the first team at Chelsea and hopefully I can get the chance to achieve that in the future.
“I will remember my time here fondly, to be able to say that you went on-loan and to have gone as well as it has is something that I won’t forget moving forward."