A breakthrough season that included regular Premier League appearances and a Champions League goal, Reece James is now one of the hottest prospects at Chelsea football Club, maybe in English Football.
The defender has not forgotten his roots. The odds of graduating from the Cobham youth ranks are slim, James achieved this after joining Chelsea whilst at Primary school.
This could not have been achieved without Wigan Athletic Football Club. After making the loan move in 2018, manager Paul Cook snapped the youngster up, who won Chelsea’s academy player of the year in the previous season.
A rising star
The versatile youngster was also part of the England Under-19s side that won the European Championships in 2017.
Upon his arrival at The DW Stadium, Cook told Sky Sports: “Reece is an exciting young player, we are delighted to have him here for his first loan away from Chelsea.”
The breakthrough in English football was rather successful after 46 outings. His first goal came against Leeds United, a smart free kick in November 2019. This was the first of three goals he scored that season. He also chipped in with the same number of assists.
Many Latics fans have even included him in their all-time best 11. A humbling moment for an ultimate professional, who has portrayed his maturity, gratitude off the pitch towards the Greater Manchester club in recent days.
Remembering his roots
Begbies Traynor, a joint administration firm, previously set a deadline of August 31 to Wigan Athletic. If this was not matched, the club could be in a position where they would not be able to start the season.
The Latics Supporters Club created a fund five days before the deadline. A hope that their beloved football club would remain alive. They managed to raise £100,000 of their £500,00 target in the first 24 hours.
Gerald Krasner, part of Begbies Traynor, told BBC Sport that the new owner would need £4m.
So, what did the Chelsea number 24 do? In order to raise funds, keep the club alive who gave him his chance in professional football, he made his voice heard.
Aswell as donating £3,000 of his own money to the cause, he pledged out on his social media platforms to his fellow professional footballers.
He tweeted: “To every player out there never forget who played a part in your career to get where you are today. To everyone who has a fond memory of playing against Wigan they need your help today. I’ve donated to help this wonderful football club.”
A touching message from a player who created his name at The DW. He values the club and appreciates their part in his short career so far.
On his Instagram page, he posted a picture in his Wigan jersey, tagging previous players in the picture to spread the message. Former Latics include Antonio Valencia, Hugo Rodallega and Franco Di Santo. The latter played at Chelsea between 2008-2010.
Even the likes of Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount shared the message on their Instagram page. Covering an audience of 5.7million combined followers.
Now is the time for former players to stand up. Wigan Athletic will compete in League One for the upcoming season, despite their good form post lockdown. The 12-point deduction meant they were relegated from the Championship.