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Chelsea star labelled 'best in the world' by Premier League rival

Chelsea star labelled 'best in the world' by Premier League rival
© Reuters
Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker labels one of Chelsea's key players as 'the best in the world' for his position.

Manchester City's Kyle Walker has labelled Chelsea captain Reece James as 'the best right-back in the world'.

James has been hampered with injuries during his time at Stamford Bridge, but he has still managed to amass 158 appearances in all competitions since and including his debut in 2019, scoring 11 goals and registering 22 assists.

The 24-year-old enjoyed his best season in a Blues shirt in 2021-22 under former boss Thomas Tuchel when he scored five goals and provided nine assists in 26 Premier League matches.

James has struggled to build on that campaign since, though, and he only featured 11 times in 2023-24 due to a significant hamstring injury.

After several months on the sidelines, James made his long-awaited return as a substitute in two of Chelsea's final three Premier League games, but he was sent off during a 2-1 win at Brighton & Hove Albion and will subsequently miss the first three matches of next season.

Chelsea's Reece James in action with Everton's Dwight McNeil on December 10, 2023© Reuters

James, who was appointed Chelsea captain last summer following the departure of Cesar Azpilicueta, was hoping to make a full recovery in time to represent England at Euro 2024 this summer.

However, the 16-cap international was omitted from Gareth Southgate's provisional Three Lions squad earlier this month, with Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier all selected ahead of him.

Even though James has struggled with his fitness and will not feature at this summer's tournament in Germany, Walker believes that the Chelsea man has all the right attributes that make him a "complete" right-back.

Asked to name the best right-back in the world aside from himself on the You'll Never Beat Kyle Walker podcast, the Man City captain confidently said: "Reece James.

Chelsea defender Reece James pictured on October 5, 2022© Reuters

Walker lauds James as "complete" package

"He's just got everything. Everything. If I could make the complete right-back, it would be him. He can defend, attack, he's technical, can use both feet, he's a threat at dead-ball situations, he's quick...

"I think if I was to build the perfect right back, I would go with my strength, [Achraf] Hakimi's pace, [Joao] Cancelo's technical ability, Trent's [Alexander-Arnold] passing, [Dani] Carvajal's mentality and I think Reece James's football brain, because he obviously played in midfield for a long time.

"But if I was to round all of them up, I'd say it would be Reece. He gives you a little bit of everything."

James will be hoping to build up his fitness over the summer and pre-season in a bid to hit the ground running at the start of the 2024-25 campaign under a new head coach, who is expected to be Enzo Maresca after holding advanced talks with Chelsea's hierarchy over the last few days.

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