Chelsea coach thinks that €20m-rated ace will be better in midfield

London club coach Frank Lampard has suggested Reece James’ future at Chelsea could be in central midfield. U21 England international impressed with Crystal Palace on the weekend when he kept Wilfried Zaha quiet during Blues 2-0 victory over the Eagles at Stamford Bridge.

Reece was playing in his favoured right-back position, but he faces contest from Cesar Azpilicueta for a starting berth, and English manager wants to retain some experience in what is a young back five. Frank hasn’t been scared to throw young footballers into the mix this term and is keen for James to get more experience.

And Lampard believes the 19-year-old starlet could do so with a central midfield role. ‘Right-back would be his favoured position,’ admitted English tactician. ‘Whether it be there, right wing-back or right of a three. ‘Azpi wants to play, of course, he does, but I think he also understands the quality of Reece.

As he’s coming into the team, you’d see him there, but he does have that all-round game that he could handle playing centrally in midfield if needs be. ‘At the moment we’ve got good players in there who are used to playing in there anyway, but he could always do that as he matures through his career.’

English defender came in for Azpilicueta on Saturday in a somewhat surprising move given the Spaniard’s excellent form. But Frank says he took the decision well and understands the Blues need to rotate. He took it, as I thought he would do, as a perfect professional and it was not a problem,’ Lampard added.