Reece James admits he held three different positions during England training as the Chelsea defender waits to see what role he could play under Gareth Southgate at Euro 2020.
James was one of four right-backs initially named to Southgate’s 26-man squad before Trent Alexander-Arnold retired through injury.
Ben White, mostly a center-back, has come in to replace Alexander-Arnold, which means James’s main competition for defensive roles on the right side remains Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker.
Amid reports that Southgate could move up to three at full back for their Group D opener against Croatia on Sunday, James said he played center-back, right-back and back during training.
“[I’ve trained in] probably the positions you can guess, ”James said. “Winger, central defender, right-back. I’ve played all three so far, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen or what position I might be in. “
He added: “I’ve played a right center-back a number of times throughout the academy so the position was nothing new to me.
“It’s very different from the back wing, you can’t really go forward. The back wing, you have the license to push and participate in the attacks, but to the right of a three you’re kind of limited to where you can go and what you can do. “
James has also revealed that he speaks to former England left-back Ashley Cole almost every week, with the former Chelsea defender part of the club’s youth lineup.
“He’s probably one of the best left-backs to play the game as well,” said James. “Even though he was left-back, the position is basically the same. He helps me a lot.”
James also addressed the difficulty of breaking through Thomas Tuchel’s plans after being a regular holder under former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard.
“At the start of the season we had Frank Lampard. I was very lucky to play the majority of games under him, but when our new manager arrived our style of play changed and the roster changed as well,” James said.
“The first few games I found myself out of the squad and I wasn’t playing so it was pretty hard to deal with, but I had to adapt and learn. It’s hard when a new manager comes in. I’ve never had it before, so it was a learning curve for me too. “
James is joined by Chelsea teammates Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount in the Southgate squad, but he says they remained “humble” after winning the Champions League final against a Manchester City side that included Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, John Stones and Walker.
James added: “Not many people win the Champions League. I knew that coming here we had just played against City, and they won’t be happy with the result, so we had to be humble with that. We couldn’t not brag and rub it. We just had to accept it, we know we won. Now we are here, we are together as a team. We have to fight together. “
And when asked which non-English Chelsea team-mate he would like to field internationally with, James simply replied “N’Golo Kante” with a smile.
When asked why, James added: “He’s a player but he covers three players. He runs so much and works so hard. He’s such a key player in our team.”