David Beckham wasn’t the fastest or the most skillful player during his playing career, but one thing that made him stand out was his pinpoint crosses from the right flank. Football has seen no other like the England legend as if to say that he retired with his skill for himself alone.
However, Chelsea youngster Reece James is proving that he can replicate the kind of crosses that we were used to seeing from Beckham. Chelsea legend Pat Nevin has now hailed the crosses he has been seeing from James and has likened them to that of football legend David Beckham.
He wrote in his column for the official Chelsea website: “One skill that looks much easier than it first appears is sending in a vicious cross at pace, with perfect direction while on the run. Think of David Beckham at his best, his crossing was his finest attribute by far, and suddenly you realise that being brilliant at one particular skill can get you a very long way in the game. I mention Beckham because the quality of crossing that we see most weeks from Reece James reminds me of his level.
“Hyperbole is common in football, but I hope I am not afflicted by the temptation to go down that route too often, so talking about Reece in that company hopefully means something. It is easy enough to put a ball into that area between the defence and the keeper but it is much harder to do it unerringly with pace so the defenders are scared to touch it, the keeper has no chance of coming out to collect it and all the forwards have to do is get on the end of it with any sort of touch. Kevin De Bruyne has that ability along with his many others, but it is rare to that level.
“The quality of this ball is so good that it is almost tempting to take it for granted already with young Reece.” Nevin also chose to point out other qualities exhibited by Reece James that makes him a special player.
He went on: “Reece is extraordinary in this area but looking at his performances of late it is becoming very clear that he is long away from being a one-trick pony. His tackling and recovery have been exceptional and still appear to be improving at a pace. His comfort on the ball is remarkable for one so young. In fact it is already impossible to think of him as a ‘raw’ 20-year-old.
“He turned out last season for Wigan and as we all know, he was named player of the year for the Latics and had more appearances than anyone else at the club. That is superb in itself, but there were some seasoned Wigan fans at the end of the campaign who were seriously asking the question, ‘Is Reece James the best footballer ever to play for the club in its entire history?’ A bold suggestion, but even asking the question speaks volumes for a youngster only there for a season on loan.”