Reece delighted to be back after ‘long days’ on the side

Nicolas Jackson interacts with Reece James of Chelsea after the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Chelsea FC at City Ground on May 11, 2024 in Nottingham, England. 

It took Reece James all of three minutes to make an impact when marking his return to action against Nottingham Forest, with the skipper playing his part in our dramatic 3-2 away win.

The Blues left the City Ground with all three points as we came from behind to defeat the Reds, with Mykhailo Mudryk, Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Jackson – set up by James – securing the victory after former Blue Callum Hudson-Odoi had looked destined to send Forest to victory.

Reece made his return from a lengthy injury lay-off in the second half on Trentside and sent over the perfect cross for Jackson to head home to complete our comeback, with the winning goal coming just two minutes after Sterling had drawn us level.

When speaking to the captain after the game and asking how it felt to make his return, a beaming Reece couldn’t hide his delight when reflecting on the impressive away win.

‘It was so great to be back out there!’ Reece stated post-match. ‘It’s been a long five months since I played. I’ve been waiting for this return for so long, so I’m happy I can make my comeback today and help the team.

‘In fact, that’s the first time I’ve played this year. I was just determined to get back before the end of the season, be in a good shape to help the team and I’m glad I was able to do that today.

‘It’s been a slow process for me to get back to this stage. Initially, we thought we would be looking at around three months out so to then be out for nearly five was really difficult for me to process in my head.

‘There were some long days for me but that’s part of the process. Now I’m just glad to be back fit and able to help the team.

‘I was really happy to play my part in the win and of course I’m delighted to assist Nicolas. Crossing is a strong attribute of mine, I had the opportunity to put it on a plate for Nicolas and a player of his quality, he was always going to score.

‘It’s a good win for us and slowly but surely we’re finding our feet. We’re finding a good level and staying consistent week in, week out.’

The victory ensures our dreams of securing continental football for next season remain alive, with the Blues level on points with sixth-placed Newcastle.

James feels European football is attainable but just wants the Blues to finish the season as strongly as possible, although insists a club of Chelsea’s size should be dining at the top table in Europe.

‘We’re learning every day,’ added Reece. ‘We’re still young and during the season we’ve had a few off days, but on the whole we’ve improved and we’re coming strong towards the end of the season.

‘Europe is one of the highest levels in club football and we’re one of the biggest clubs in club football, so we want to be pushing each season to be knocking on the door for the Champions League. That’s the aim.’

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