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Chelsea news: Reece James has ‘pretty much everything’ as ace makes full debut | Football | Sport

Chelsea right-back Reece James has “pretty much everything” to become a top player for the Blues, claims former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves.

James was handed his first Premier League start as Chelsea welcomed Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The 19-year-old impressed off the bench in the 4-4 Champions League draw against Ajax on Wednesday, scoring the equaliser versus the Dutch side.

He replaced club captain Cesar Azpilicueta in the team against Palace – just the second time Azpilicueta had not started in the last 149 league matches.

And ahead of the match Hargreaves was full of praise and excitement for James.

“Yeah he’s a diamond, he really is. This kid is special,” Hargreaves said on BT Sport.

“Every kid that comes through has talent but I think what he has is a talent to compete and that at this level is pretty much everything.

“I’m excited to see him play, at 19 years old, he’s ready to roll.”

James is one of a number of Chelsea academy graduates to be given a chance by head coach Frank Lampard this season.

And Blues hero Joe Cole says the youngsters know there are more opportunities for them to break through into the Premier League side.

“You get the feel throughout the club that for the young lads the smoke’s been cleared, the pathway’s been opened,” Cole said.

“Everyone coming up now [is] looking at that and thinking ‘If we’re good enough, we’re going to get thrown in’.

“Reece was outstanding the other night and he’s been outstanding every time he’s pulled on a football kit, he’s been brilliant on his loan spells.

“This kid can go all the way and he’s going to really push Azpilicueta for the right-back spot.

“By the way he’s marking [Wilfried] Zaha, so it’s a hell of a game for him.”

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