Chelsea confirm Reece James as new club captain

Chelsea confirm Reece James as new club captain following the departure of Cesar Azpilicueta

  • James inherits the armband from Cesar Azpilicueta following his summer exit
  • The 23-year-old has made 147 appearances after graduating from the academy
  • James was chosen as Chelsea captain during the club’s pre-season US tour 

Chelsea have confirmed Reece James as the club’s new captain following the departure of Cesar Azpilicueta this summer. 

James has made 147 appearances for the first-team since graduating from the academy in 2018, having joined the club as a six year old.   

The 23-year-old, who has also earned 15 international caps for England, quickly established himself in the Chelsea squad and was an integral part of the team that won the Champions League in 2021. 

After the announcement on Wednesday, James spoke of his pride in following in the footsteps of previous Chelsea skippers and admitted it was a ‘great feeling’ to be the new wearer of the armband. 

‘I’m so happy to take on the role and responsibility,’ he told the club’s website. ‘I know I’ve got big shoes to fill because we have had huge captains here in the past, but I am excited. 

Chelsea have announced 23-year-old academy graduate Reece James as their new captain

Mauricio Pochettino praised the defender’s attitude and dedication after installing James as captain for Chelsea summer tour of the US

Chelsea needed a new skipper after Cesar Azpilicueta called time on his 11-year Blues stay

‘I have been at Chelsea pretty much my whole life. I started here when I was six and to come through the Academy is tough. But to go on and become captain, it’s a great feeling for me and my family.’ 

James takes the mantle from Azpilicueta, who joined LaLiga side Atletico Madrid last month, ending his 11-year stay at Stamford Bridge and four-season run as Chelsea captain. 

The right back will hope to keep hold of the armband longer than the Spaniard or his predecessor Gary Cahill, who was Chelsea skipper for just two seasons.

Instead, Blues legends like Dennis Wise and John Terry, who were captains for eight and 13 years respectively, will undoubtedly be his inspiration. 

New boss Mauricio Pochettino lauded James’ attitude and dedication, as he and his new skipper hope to lead the club into a period of success following a summer of change. 

‘This is a decision taken by me and the club,’ he said. ‘We are very pleased Reece will captain the side this season. 

‘He leads by example and his attitude and dedication to Chelsea has been clear throughout pre-season. He proudly wore the armband during our summer tour and will take up the challenge of leading our squad with his own approach and ideas.’

Chelsea get their Premier League campaign underway on Sunday against top four rivals Liverpool, who will also be led out onto the pitch by a new face in Virgil van Dijk following Jordan Henderson’s summer departure.

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