Reece James: '˜Moving away from home at 18 was a big step, but I'm loving it at Wigan Athletic'
Guest columnist Reece James explains how he has found a home from home at Wigan Athletic...
I feel I’ve settled in well here at Wigan, and I’m happy with the way it’s going.
The players have welcomed me into the squad, it’s obviously all new in terms of environment and area but I feel at home here now.
It’s a bit different to what I’m used to in London, but I’m finding my feet up here.
Probably not many people my age (18) would have taken such a big decision to up sticks and move so far away from home.
But I really feel it’s going to help my in future – both as a player and off the field as a person.
And I’ve not been totally on my own the whole time.
My parents travel up to see me, my sister too, which is obviously very nice.
My dad in particular comes to most of the games, he likes to keep an eye on how i’m doing on the field.
He tries to help me wherever he can, even if it means being critical of anything he feels I can do better with!
I’m also in regular contact with Chelsea – as they do with all their loan players – just to keep on top of things, making sure everything’s all right.
It’s pleasing to have nailed down a place so soon, and it’s up to me to keep working hard to make sure nobody takes it away from me.
Obviously I want to play as many games as I can, and make the most of the time I have here.
I’ve tried to get forward as much as I can and get some crosses in for the forwards.
That’s a big part of my game, and it’s something I’m keen to develop while I’m here.
It’s also been a great start to the season for the team as a whole.
We’ve had to dig deep at times to get where we are.
But we’re finding we’re coming on strong in games rather than tailing off, and it’s all going mostly according to plan.
We’re obviously pleased with how it’s going defensively.
With three new defenders coming in just before the start of the season, it was always going to be a challenge to hit it off right from the start.
But the longer it goes, the more games we play together, we’re finding the partnerships are coming together.
We’re starting to have more appreciation of where each other’s going to be, and that helps the overall understanding.
You can see with the amount of clean sheets we’ve had in recent weeks that the understanding is improving all the time.
I have to say Chey Dunkley has been a big help at the back.
He’s the only survivor from last season and he’s been such a rock in terms of continuity and leading from the back.
I’ve tried to take some added responsibility as well when I can, and I feel that aspect of my game is also coming on as well.
We’re all hoping to round off the week with a good performance and a positive result against Bristol City tonight.
It’s been a tough week in terms of workload – three games in six days would challenge any squad.
But we played some good stuff against Hull on Tuesday night, and hopefully we can pick up where we left off and another three points would be nice.