Chelsea youngster Reece James won the club’s 2017/18 Academy Player of the Year award last week following an impressive season, and thoughts will be turning to whether he could be the latest youth player sent out on loan, or whether he could fight for a first-team spot next term.
While the Blues have become renowned for sending their youngsters away to get more experience, they have shown that on special occasions that they are willing to give some an opportunity – see Ethan Ampadu during the previous campaign.
James, described by one supporter on Twitter as “better than Zappacosta”, captained his side to FA Youth Cup victory and showed his leadership skills, as well as his versatility by being able to play as a centre-back, right-back or right wing-back.
The west London outfit may feel that he has proven that he has the strength and the quality to push the likes of Victor Moses, Davide Zappacosta, Gary Cahill and Antonio Rudiger next season.
We asked Chelsea fans to vote on our poll to see whether they want the teenager to be involved in the first team going forward, and a whopping 96% said they would.
James’ future prospects may well depend on the Blues’ managerial situation, with Antonio Conte looking likely to go following the FA Cup final this weekend following a fifth-place finish in the Premier League.