The night Wigan Athletic old-boy 'became a man'
Saturday's Champions League final was the night former Wigan Athletic loan star Reece James 'became a man' - as Chelsea beat Manchester City in Porto.
That's the view of Rio Ferdinand, himself a former Champions League winner and England defensive rock, who says the 21-year-old underlined his Euro 2020 credentials in the process.
“If you’re going to play top level for England in a tournament and Chelsea in a Champions League final, you’ve got to have players who can stand up and say ‘leave me one v one and I’ll deal with it’,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
“Tonight he became a man. Before that it was, ‘is he the right man to play for Chelsea let alone England?’ He answered those questions with aplomb.”
Fellow TV pundit Joe Cole agreed with Ferdinand, having witnessed the player's progression through the Stamford Bridge junior set-up.
“I’ve seen him come through the academy and he was aggressive, but we’ve seen his Premier League debut against Wilfried Zaha and he dispatched him," said Cole.
“He’s now done it to Raheem Sterling, and to do it on the big stage is a level up.
“I think there’s levels to come from him. When he gets in the final third he’s almost too polite.
"He can drive past players himself and his deliveries are as good as anyone I’ve seen.”
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