During an exclusive interview with The Athletic, Chelsea right-back Reece James named the toughest opponent in his career to date.
James has been one of the breakout stars of the Premier League season so far. Though he did feature under Frank Lampard last time around, the youngster has reached another level this term, with his well-rounded defending and attacking combination making him one of the most accomplished full-backs in the league.
Though no player would be happy to walk on the field of play and see James defending against them, there’s one man in particular who he revealed he hasn’t enjoyed facing. He’s quoted by The Athletic naming Liverpool winger Sadio Mane as the toughest opponent in his career to date:
“My toughest opponent has been Sadio Mane. He is one of the best wingers in the league, if not the world. He is strong, quick, good on the ball and one of the toughest to play against, and then you also have (Mane’s Liverpool team-mate) Andy Robertson on the outside. It used to be about defending but now it is about not only being very good at defending but offering a big attacking threat.”
Mane is one of the best players in the Premier League. Supremely talented and a tireless worker – it’s no surprise that James found it no fun facing off against him. Thankfully for the 20-year-old, he has until March to prepare for his next tussle with the Liverpool frontman.