Versatile, calm and composed with a great engine: Doncaster Rovers expert provides the lowdown on Blackpool's first summer signing
Blackpool’s preparations for their return to the Champions have begun with the signing of Reece James.
The 27-year-old has penned a three-year contract with the Seasiders, with the club also holding the option to extend James' deal by a further 12 months.
The versatile left back had been offered fresh terms by his former club Doncaster Rovers as he approached the end of his deal, but James - who was also a target for Sheffield Wednesday - indicated his desire to await potential offers from Championship clubs.
So what can Pool fans expect from the club’s new recruit?
The Gazette caught up with Liam Hoden, from sister paper Doncaster Free Press, to get the lowdown on Blackpool’s first summer signing.
What sort of player is Reece James and how well did he perform for Donny?
Versatile is the big word to describe him.
Having been strictly a left back in his first season, he played more games in midfield in the last campaign and did not look out of place, whether it was in a deeper-lying role, as a No.10 or out wide.
He is very calm and composed on the ball, reads the game well and has a decent passing range, as well as being a good crosser.
When he plays out wide, he won't beat players for pace or skill very often but his positional sense is very good and he will find spaces to exploit in the opposition half - which he showed with the late runs that brought quite a few of his goals. He's got a great engine on him too.
He was arguably Rovers' player of the season last term and was certainly the most improved. His performances tailed off towards the end of the season but so did everyone's.
How desperate were the club to keep him at the Keepmoat?
They were very, very keen.
Richie Wellens spoke about his desire to keep him on board when he took the job last month. But I think there was somewhat of a resignation that he would be leaving.
He'd spoken of his desire to find a club in the Championship and, after his performances last season, it always seemed likely that there would be some interest.
He can play in quite a few positions, but where would you say he's at his best?
I still think he is at his best at left back but it is a lot closer than it would have been a year ago.
I think he works well in a partnership at the deeper-lying midfield position rather than being a dominant blocker in the role and he would not be the sort of winger to put the opposition on the back foot consistently.
When Rovers were at their best last season, the full backs were huge to how they played and spent most of their time in the opposition half. He was great at covering the full flank, finding space, cutting inside and joining in attacks.
Do you think he's capable of making the step-up to the Championship?
I certainly think he has earned the right. His calm and composed head will be a huge asset for him in the Championship and I think he will do well.
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