James arrived at Wigan last summer as an untried 18-year-old without a first-team appearance to his name.
But he is already being tipped to be part of Chelsea’s first-team set-up next term after a marvellous campaign at the DW Stadium which has seen him pick up all-but one of Wigan’s player of the month awards.
Despite being named in the EFL Championship team of the year last month – picked by the 24 managers – James missed out on selection for the fictional XI, voted for by his peers.
Cook, though, doesn’t feel he should be overly upset.
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“Reece has already received enough plaudits – and will go on to get many more – to last any young lad a lifetime,” said the Wigan boss..
“All I can say is Reece would breeze into any team of the year, he’s an absolutely outstanding player.
“And in my eyes he has probably been the best player I’ve seen in the Championship this year.
"But of course I would be slightest biased in that assessment.”