“I think Reece James could probably play in goal, he’s that outstanding!”
The words of Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook, after the on-loan Chelsea starlet managed to cram another man-of-the-match performance into a half-hour cameo off the bench at West Brom.
Latics bowed out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle thanks to Bakary Sako’s 31st-minute goal at the Hawthorns.
But had James been on the field for the duration - rather than just the final 30 minutes - it may have been so different.
The fact the Young England right-back was sent on as an emergency central midfielder for the first time, rather than his usual defensive position, made his contribution even more impressive.
“Reece is just an outstanding talent,” gushed Cook, who is fast running out of superlatives to describe the 19-year-old.
“He’s probably also the best table tennis player in England...probably the best golfer too...he’s that kind of talent!
“I’m sure he will go on to have an outstanding football career, and we’re very lucky to have had him for this period to allow him to grow.”
James was only deployed in the engine room as a last resort, with skipper Sam Morsy damaging a hamstring in the lead-up to the game and deputy Darron Gibson tweaking a thigh in the warm-up.
But does Cook see a long-term future in central midfield?
“I see him in a lot of positions to be fair,” the Latics boss mused.
“We might have a look at him up front at the minute...he could probably do a job there!”
On a serious note, Cook is down to the bare bones with regards squad availability.
And he admits the battling performance at the Hawthorns would not give him too much food for thought with regards future selection for important league games to come.
“Have you seen my squad?” he countered. “There’s not many selection headaches to be had.”