Reece James on Wigan Athletic's final straight - and his hopes for the future

Reece James is adamant Wigan Athletic have enough in the tank to cement their Championship status this year.
Reece JamesReece James
Reece James

With 10 weeks to go until the final day of the season, Latics are clear of the relegation places, and can strengthen their case tomorrow with a win over bottom club Ipswich.

And their rising star, on loan from Chelsea, thinks they can put their stuttering form behind them after claiming a win and two draws from their last three outings.

“We will finish strongly,” said the 19-year-old.

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“It all plays a part. We’re much stronger now, we went through a spell when we had a lot of injuries and everything was up in the air. We weren’t sure going into games but now we’re all on the same page and we’re moving forward.”

James had the chance to move to a new club in the January transfer window as his stock rises.

But he decided to stay at Latics, and credited his team-mates and coaches for making him feel welcome.

“I’m enjoying it here, playing week-in, week-out,” he said.

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“They’re all sound lads and I get on really well with everyone. I didn’t see the point in changing anything when I’m happy where I am.

“Moving in-season and getting to know new people would have been pretty tough in my first professional season.

“The manager and coaching staff have all made me feel welcome and I’m thankful for that.

“I’m enjoying it.

“The fans are great - they know when you’re doing well and when you could be doing better but it helps when they say the positives.”

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James grew-up supporting Chelsea and has been on their books since he was six.

Playing for Kew Park Rangers in West London, he says his footballing heroes were Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard.

His performances this term have impressed Latics fans and haven’t gone unnoticed by supporters of his parent club.

And while the England U20s international is grateful for the praise coming his way, he says it won’t go to his head as he works towards his England and Chelsea goals.

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“You acknowledge it and thank people but you can’t take your foot off the gas, you have to keep working,” he said.

“If you’re happy with what you’re doing then you’re not going to progress, you’re not going to go anywhere.

“I wouldn’t want to stay in the under 19s or 20s because that’s not where I want to be but you have to take it one step at a time and hopefully push on.

“I speak to Chelsea on a regular basis. They keep checking up on me and making sure it’s going well.

“The end goal is to play for Chelsea but I’m just focusing on this season at the moment and pushing on and

hopefully getting a few big wins we need the rest of this season.”