Chelsea’s new boss told to make tough but important Reece James decision

Chelsea’s new boss told to make tough but important Reece James decision

Emmanuel Petit has urged Chelsea’s next manager to replace Reece James as the club captain at Stamford Bridge.

The Chelsea academy graduate was named captain ahead of the 2023-24 season but went on to endure a frustrating campaign, with injuries restricting him to just 11 appearances in all competitions.

Petit says James has played ‘nowhere near enough’ over the last two seasons and believes it makes little sense for him to be captain given his fitness issues.

As a result, the French World Cup winner says Chelsea’s new manager should ‘consider’ taking the armband off James and giving it to Conor Gallagher.

Gallagher made 39 appearances for Chelsea this season, captaining the team regularly in James’ absence.

Chelsea are still searching for a new manager after Mauricio Pochettino agreed to leave west London after crunch talks with the club’s owners following the end of the season.

‘We all know James is such a great player and we’re always crossing our fingers that he plays as much as possible,’ Petit, who spent three years at Chelsea, told BoyleSports, who offer the latest Euro 2024 betting.

‘However, how much has he played in the last two years? It’s nowhere near enough.

‘You cannot be the captain when you miss the majority of games – it reminds me of Abou Diaby at Arsenal when you could just never rely on him due to his unfortunate injuries.

‘Conor Gallagher should be the club captain, it certainly needs to be considered by the new manager. Gallagher is a symbol on the pitch and plays every game so it has to be him.’

James, who was left out of England’s provisional Euro 2024 squad earlier in the week, apologised to Pochettino following his departure from Chelsea.

‘Thank you for everything boss,’ he posted on Instagram. ‘We had an amazing relationship from the moment we met.

‘I never played as much as I would have hoped under you, which I am sorry for but also something I couldn’t control.

‘You believed in me and gave me a huge responsibility when many others doubted me. Thank you all and good luck in the future!’

Chelsea were languishing in mid-table for much of the season but won their last five games in a row to finish sixth and qualify for Europe.

Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna, Brentford manager Thomas Frank and Leicester City’s Enzo Maresca are believed to be three of the leading contenders to be named as Pochettino’s replacement at Chelsea.

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