Ex-Wigan Athletic star named captain of Premier League giants
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The 23-year-old - who joined the Chelsea Academy at the age of six - spent the 2018/19 campaign on loan with Latics.
He swept the boards at the player of the year awards, having picked up every single player of the month award bar one.
And his career has continued its upward trajectory since returning to Chelsea, with whom he won the Champions League in 2020/21, as well as collecting 16 England caps.
"I'm so happy to take on the role and responsibility," James said.
"I know I've got big shoes to fill because we have had huge captains here in the past, but I am excited.
"I have been at Chelsea pretty much my whole life.
"I started here when I was six and to come through the Academy is tough.
"But to go on and become captain, it's a great feeling for me and my family."
Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino said: "This is a decision taken by me and the club.
"We are very pleased Reece will captain the side this season.
"He leads by example and his attitude and dedication to Chelsea has been clear throughout pre-season.
"He proudly wore the armband during our summer tour, and will take up the challenge of leading our squad with his own approach and ideas."
Co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart added on the club's official website: "Reece’s connection with Chelsea has been forged over 17 years.
"He understands the traditions of the club and the responsibilities that come with being captain.
"He knows the standards required to win at this club – both from his time in the Academy and the first team – and it is a very proud moment for Reece and everyone connected to the
James’ former Latics team-mate Sam Morsy was one of the first to post his congratulations on social media.