England coach Southgate confident Chelsea fullback James can succeed centrally

2 weeks ago

England coach Gareth Southgate feels comfortable playing Chelsea fullback Reece James in a central role when needed.

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The Three Lions are in San Marino for their group finale, needing just a point to book their place at Qatar 2022 following Friday night's big win against Albania at Wembley. James was among the starters in that game, deployed in his customary club position at right wing-back as he claimed an assist for the opening goal.

In the process, the 21-year-old took his tally of goal involvements this term to nine and Southgate was particularly pleased with how he impacted the game in more central areas, a theme of his recent Chelsea performances.

"Reece did that really well against Denmark in one of his first games but then we ended up going down to 10 men and we had to change it but we know he's a player who can do that," said the England manager.

"Against Andorra, he played in the middle of midfield for 20 minutes and was very comfortable. I saw him do the same for Chelsea at Aston Villa last season."

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