The 21 year old Reece James joined Wigan Athletic just over a week ago on a three year contract for a fee of around £1million. Within a couple of days he was to play his first game for his new club, playing at left wing back in the pre-season game at Dens Park, Dundee.
James had arrived at Wigan with a good reputation and his display in Dundee did not disappoint. In fact he was arguably Latics’ best player that day, being a constant threat to the home team, showing a fine technique and putting over quality crosses and corner kicks.
The 5 ft 11 1⁄2 in tall James was born in Bacup and began his football career just five miles away at Rossendale United as a youth player. He enjoyed brief spells at Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers before joining Manchester United as an 18 year old in July 2012. He went to Carlisle United on loan in summer 2013, but returned to United in September due to injury. He was to be one of the outstanding performers for their under 21 team that season. He made his senior team debut in July 2014, scoring two goals in a 7-0 victory over Los Angeles Galaxy.
In November 2014 James went to Rotherham on loan, making 8 appearances before returning in late January. In late March 2015 he joined Huddersfield Town on loan and played with them until the end of the season, making 6 appearances and scoring a goal directly from a corner against Derby County.
In order to find out more about James’ time at Huddersfield we contacted a couple of Terriers’ fans.
Marko (Twitter @marko2807) is a Huddersfield Town SC holder & ATT Town Fans Panel Member.
Here’s over to Marko:
Huddersfield Manager Chris Powell swooped for the loan signing of Reece James from Manchester United following the long term injury to season long loanee from QPR Jack Robinson. Robinson who suffered a serious knee injury after steadily growing into a very competent full back left a big hole in the Town back line which was already known for shipping too many goals. Powell tried in house to fill the gap but soon brought in James on loan until the end of the season as it became evident following Robinsons injury and Paul Dixons return to Scotland, that was a problem position for us.
Being brought up through the United academy, you would always expect players to be of a certain level and James was no different. This was James third loan spell after previously making just one senior appearance for Carlisle in 2013 before a 7 game spell at Rotherham.
James made just 6 appearances for the Terriers, scoring one goal, but made a very favourable impression. With no recognised first choice left back, many Town fans assumed that the club would go in for James either on a season long loan or a permanent transfer.
It’s unclear if Town did make enquiries into the possibility of a return for him but then instead swooped for Australian world cup star Jayson Davidson from West Brom. Whilst being pleased with the signing of Davidson however It was met with some surprise by many fans that James made a move down the divisions into League one when it’s clear that he is more than capable of playing at a higher level.
Perhaps the lure of bigger wages enabled from the continuation of the rather unfair parachute payments was the case but either way, in my view, Wigan have signed an excellent young footballer who will only get better and should really shine in League One.
I for one will be watching with interest at how he progresses.
We were also fortunate enough to receive a fan’s view from Matthew (Twitter @mtthwrks).
Here’s over to Matthew:
It’s quite difficult to go into enormous depth as he only made 6 appearances towards the back end of last season after an injury to previous loanee Jack Robinson, but from what Town fans saw in just 540 minutes of football, the vast majority were impressed.
He seemed to be quite an attacking minded full-back, but in contrast to your modern day “attacking full-backs”, was more than capable of doing his defensive duties. It was evident to Town fans he was schooled at Manchester United and, albeit only a brief stint, we had our first decent left-back in years!
He takes a good set-piece, particularly corners. In fact, he actually scored directly from a corner in Town’s 4-4 draw with Derby, his first and only current senior goal.
What to expect? Not goals. But you can expect 100% commitment, tidy deliveries into the box from the left side and a pretty complete young full-back.
Put it this way, there wasn’t a Huddersfield Town fan about that wasn’t disappointed when hearing we weren’t going to be in for him.
Furthermore, there were a lot of shocked fans about when hearing he’d be playing in League One next season, as he’s more than capable of playing regular Championship football. Best of luck to him!