Thursday, December 1, 2022

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Lauren James, sister of Chelsea star Reece, reveals making her full England debut was “amazing”.

Lauren James said her full England debut was a dream come true as the forward shone on an overwhelming night for the Lionesses.

James was the brightest spark in the 0-0 draw with the Czech Republic, hitting the post in the fourth minute and impressing with her intelligent and powerful play.

The Chelsea forward made her debut against Austria in August after impressing Sarina Wiegman in preparation, but her first start was a significant milestone. Wiegman has only made four debuts in 24 competitive games but James, who was a fan at the EURO final, has made quite an impact in her short stint with the senior side.

It was wonderful. It’s what I’ve dreamed of all my life,” James said of her first start in England.

“Obviously the launch was a bit surreal at first but I think as a few minutes into the game went by I started to feel and felt confident and comfortable. I have found my feet. I’m looking forward to returning to my club now and continuing to work hard and hopefully continue to play for England.

“I was at the final and watched the entire European Championship. I was obviously itching to play. I wasn’t in the right place but I figured let me get a good preseason off the ground, work hard and see where it takes me.

If James can continue the form she showed earlier in the season then there is every chance she could make next year’s World Cup squad despite stiff competition at the front.

“Everyone on the attacking line and in the squad as a whole is a great player. It only makes you better to train and play with players who are at the highest level. I think it’s healthy competition, it makes you a better player, it makes you want to work harder

James joined Chelsea from Manchester United last summer in a deal worth up to £200,000 – a record between two WSL clubs.

But her first season with the Blues was mostly spent on the sidelines as she worked her way back to full fitness after a series of injury struggles.

The forward made just six league appearances in her debut season, all of which came off the bench. But James praised Chelsea boss Emma Hayes for being patient with her and believes she is now reaping the rewards.

“Emma was obviously great with me. She didn’t push me; She gave me the time I needed. I know it was frustrating for everyone else because they couldn’t see what I can offer.

“Of course it was frustrating for me too because I just want to be on the pitch. But in the long run, like this season, it’s starting to show that the patience she gave me and the team behind her that helped are showing the benefits of that.

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