Chelsea right-back Reece James has revealed that his hero is club legend Didier Drogba – as he used to be a striker!
You could be forgiven for thinking that James has always been a right-back, with the England international being such an assured defender and effective over-lapper, but he’s now revealed that’s not the case.
In fact, James revealed during an exclusive interview with The Athletic that he used to play his football at the opposite end of the field as a striker – idolising Didier Drogba:
“My hero was Didier Drogba. I played up front and he was the man at Chelsea, so I wanted to be like him and completely idolised him. Then I went into central midfield, until I was around 14 or 15. I had a good spell there and got used to it. But it then got to a stage I wasn’t really playing and there were loads of midfielders in the team and the right-back position was free at the time. That’s how I found myself there.”
James is comparable to Drogba in terms of his muscular build, but not much else.
We didn’t often see Drogba defending one-on-one against a winger, nor bombing down the right-channel to deliver a cross into the box. It’s hard to see exactly what he picked up on from studying the Ivorian’s game.
Then again, I grew up idolising Ronaldinho and never developed into a Joga Bonito samba superstar, so perhaps there isn’t direct correlation…