This article is part of Football League Worlds ‘Fan Perspective’ series, this content strand is where we deliver an opinion-based outlook from the perspective of a certain club’s fanbase on the matter at hand…
Reports from Football Insider suggest Leeds United are monitoring Reece James’ situation at Chelsea, and hope to sign him on loan in January.
James arrived at Wigan at the start of last season, aged 18, and was signed as defensive cover. The defender made his debut at right back, and immediately set the place alight, his quality was clear from day one.
Paul Cook quickly recognised that to fully exploit James’ abilities, he would be better to use him centrally rather than as a right back. With Cook tinkering with tactics and formation, James played a couple of games on the right side of a back three. Although he’s not naturally a centre back, his pace, strength and reading of the game meant he adapted quickly.
Onto midfield. By October, James was taking every set-piece, Wigan’s best player and starting every week in central midfield. Considering he had never played a competitive match until making his Wigan debut, the transformation and speed in which he settled in at the club was just outstanding.
James would visit the dressing room before Wigan’s academy matches to wish their youngsters well and give them words of advice. On the final day of the season, Wigan made James captain and subbed him off with a couple of minutes to go, to give the fans an opportunity to thank him for his contributions. There was men with tears in their eyes, he had such an effect on the town of Wigan.
It would certainly be strange to see him play against Wigan. If he was to return to the Championship, Wigan would surely push to get him back. Although from watching Leeds under Marcelo Bielsa, he would fit in his system perfectly. Bielsa prides on his teams winning the ball back quickly, working hard and keeping possession when they do win it back. James has energy in abundance, and also the technical ability to be successful under Bielsa.
Of course Wigan fans would like to see James come back for a loan spell, but it’s unrealistic. He’s too good for the Championship, never mind a bottom-half Championship team. He almost single-handedly kept Wigan in the league last season, and Latics fans will always remember that.
All Wigan fans just want James to stay fit, make the right career choices and reach the very top. To see him play in the Champions League against Lille, and score on his home debut at Stamford Bridge was brilliant, but just the start for him.
If Leeds are lucky enough to get him on loan for half a season in January, he would be the signing of the window. James is a player that is levels above the Championship.