Cesar Azpilicueta backs Reece James to become next Chelsea star

Cesar Azpilicueta has insisted that Reece James will become a very important player for Chelsea in an interview with the Evening Standard.

James enjoyed a greatly successful loan spell at Wigan Athletic last season winning club Player of the Year in his first senior campaign.

The 19-year-old’s performances attracted the attention of numerous clubs forcing Chelsea to turn down a reported £20million bid from Crystal Palace.

James returned to Cobham Training Ground in preparation for the season and continued to impress the likes of Frank Lampard and Jody Morris, which consequently saw Davide Zappacosta leave for AS Roma.

‘No one has any doubts about his talent’

Azpilicueta and James are both right-backs by trade which has given the pair time to create a bond on and off the training pitch. 

The Spanish defender has recognised his role as an experienced member of the team offering guidance and support to others - especially to James.

“I am here to help everybody, and he (James) is an amazing kid. He has a very good mentality,” the Blues Captain began. 

“No one has any doubts about his talent on the pitch and hopefully he can be a very important player.

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“When he [first] came [to train with the senior side] he was already used to the way we play. After he arrived, I was playing as a centre-back, so he was training on the right next to me.

“It was easy for me to get close to him and help him with the movements and to get used to the way we play. The movements that the manager asks us to play.”

James’ road to a senior debut at Chelsea was unfortunately put on hold due to a minor ankle injury in pre-season. He is expected to make his return in September.

England Youth success can thank Chelsea

The 30-year-old defender also spoke on the recent success the England International Youth teams have had, insisting many thanks should be handed to Chelsea.

Azpilicueta is very aware of his role as Chelsea captain as he boasted about the talent his side have in the academy.

He said: “When you go to Under-17s, Under-19s, Under-20s, even Under-21s. You see that we have English players from here represented there. 

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“When they won the Under-20 World Cup (in 2017), they had a few players from Chelsea. We have been doing very good work in the academy.

"We have players from everywhere and we have a strong base of English players, which is important.

“We have a lot of talents in Chelsea. I know that everyone is excited about the young players and the English players. I think Chelsea has been the most successful academy team. 

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“We are doing a very, very good job with the kids and now I think even more kids are getting promoted to the first team and that's what we maybe lacked a few years ago.”