Reece James believes that he is in the form of his career but the Chelsea right back is under no illusions that he faces a difficult challenge to secure a starting role in England’s team with a year to go until the World Cup.
The 21-year-old is thriving in Thomas Tuchel’s 3-4-3 system and is the club’s joint-top scorer with four goals.
He puts that down to the German head coach’s attacking demands and confidence being high despite dropping two points at home to Burnley last weekend.
“This is the best I’ve performed,” he said. “Recent results and performances have shown that as well. We’re creating a lot of chances and we have great players around us.
“When you’re playing well and the team is performing, keeping clean sheets and winning games, it obviously helps us build confidence.”
Asked how Tuchel’s coaching has improved him, James added: “The style of play from last season to now, a lot has changed. Formation has changed, what he demands from the players has changed. He wants everyone to be attacking. That’s helped this season so far.”
But with Trent Alexander-Arnold, of Liverpool, and Manchester City’s Kyle Walker both battling for the right back slot in Gareth Southgate’s team James cannot be assured of a spot in Qatar.
That they each play for one of the Premier League’s title contenders adds another layer to the competitiveness, even if the Chelsea man says club rivalries are parked at the entrance to St George’s Park at the beginning of every international break.
“We each have a different style of play,” James added. “Trent has obviously been at the top for quite a few years now. Obviously Kyle Walker as well. Competition is very tough.
“There are full backs who are not here at a very good level. I’m competing with very good players, it’s quite tough. We just have to keep pushing each other.
“When you come away you have to put club rivalry aside. When we’re here we are one team and our aim is to win no matter who we’re playing against. We have to put it aside and focus on our task here. It’s not easy. We play most of our football for our clubs but we want to win wherever we are.”
Source by Football London