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

    The 23-year-old has made 147 appearances for the club since graduating from the academy in 2018.

    James, who has also earned 15 international caps for England, was an integral part of the Blues squad that claimed the Champions League in 2021.

    Nevertheless, James was one of the more regular candidates to wear the armband and appeared to take pride in lifting the Premier League Summer Series trophy along with Thiago Silva, after each captained half of the final match of the tournament against Fulham.

    James said: "I'm so happy to take on the role and responsibility. I know I've got big shoes to fill because we have had huge captains here in the past, but I am excited.

    "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."

    The likes of Silva, Trevoh Chalobah, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Ben Chilwell have also worn the armband over the summer months. However, Pochettino believes James will be able to take his own approach to leadership with the additional responsibility.

    Chelsea's head coach said: "This is a decision taken by me and the club. 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."

    Sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart said: "Reece’s connection with Chelsea has been forged over 17 years. He understands the traditions of the club and the responsibilities that come with being captain.

    "He knows the standards required to win at this club – both from his time in the Academy and the first team – and it is a very proud moment for Reece everyone connected to the club."

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