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Reece James in confident mood ahead of Euro 2020

Reece James in confident mood ahead of Euro 2020
© Reuters
The versatile Chelsea player is upbeat ahead of the opener against Croatia at Wembley.

Reece James believes football could be coming home this summer, with the right-back saying England probably have their best chance to win a major tournament since 1966.

Excitement is building ahead of Sunday's Euro 2020 group opener against Croatia at Wembley, where the Three Lions will be hoping to return to play the July 11 finale under the arch.

Gareth Southgate's men have the chance to follow in the footsteps of the heroes of the 1966 World Cup by lifting silverware on home soil this summer – an opportunity not lost on Chelsea right-back James.

"I think now is probably the best chance we've ever had to achieve something so big in the tournament," the 21-year-old said.

"We've got so many great players and so many players that have won titles and won many major honours.

"I think we definitely have a good enough team to go all the way in this tournament and I don't see why we can't."

James heads into the tournament on the back of his standout display in Chelsea's Champions League final triumph against Premier League winners Manchester City.

"I didn't expect to win it so young," he said.  "There are so many great players who haven't had the chance to win it. To win it so young, I'm over the moon and grateful.

Chelsea right-back Reece James celebrates with the Champions League trophy
Chelsea right-back Reece James celebrates with the Champions League trophy (Nick Potts/PA)

"I think winning the Champions League final and playing against such a high quality team and coming away with the win is going to boost anyone's confidence but doing it against the Premier League champions gives you a boost as well.

"Coming here you need to step away from club rivalry.

"We had Man City in the final but when we come here we're a collective team. We put it to one side. We're one team here and we need to work together."

Chelsea team-mates Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell join James in the England squad after starring roles in Porto.

Reece James has become a key player under Thomas Tuchel
Reece James has become a key player under Thomas Tuchel (Glyn Kirk/PA)

The trio have all had to prove themselves to Blues boss Thomas Tuchel after playing important roles under predecessor Frank Lampard.

"At the start of the season we had Frank Lampard and I was very lucky to play the majority of the games under him but when our new manager came in our style of play and formation changed," he said.

"The first few games I found myself out of the team. That was quite difficult to deal with. I had to adapt and learn.

"It's hard when a new manager comes in mid-season, I've never had it before. It was a big learning curve."

James' form under Lampard led him to win the first of six caps against Wales in October.

Deployed at right wing-back for his first four international appearances, the 21-year-old played as right-back as England moved to a back four in March.

James' next cap could come in a third different position, with the versatile Chelsea graduate capable of playing as a central defender.

"I played right-sided centre-back many times coming through the academy so the position wasn't new to me," said James as Southgate considers whether to play with a three or a four against Croatia.

Reece James is preparing for England's opener against Croatia
Reece James is preparing for England's opener against Croatia (Nick Potts/PA)

"The position is much different to a wing-back. You're a defender, you can't really go forward. As a defender you don't have the licence to push on and join in attacks.

"Defending on the right side of a three you're limited to where you can go and what you can do."

Asked how many different positions Southgate has played him in training, James said: "Probably the positions you could guess: wing-back, centre-back and right-back.

"I've played all three so far. I don't know what's going to happen or what position I might feature in."

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United StatesUnited States98825
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (3.15am-6.10am)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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