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Boyhood dream come true! Reece James named new Chelsea captain ahead of Thiago Silva following Cesar Azpilicueta’s exit

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Academy graduate Reece James has been named Chelsea’s new captain following Cesar Azpilicueta’s summer departure to Atletico Madrid.

The defender fulfils a lifelong dream by taking on the armband having joined the Blues aged six. Now 23, James has been picked to replace former club captain Azpilicueta by new head coach Mauricio Pochettino, ahead of veteran centre-back Thiago Silva.

Silva has captained Chelsea on multiple occasions in the past, but Pochettino has opted for James in a decision made alongside the club. Having been limited to just 24 appearances last season due to injury, the wing-back will hope to put his fitness issues behind him to fulfil the role to the best of his abilities.Speaking to Chelsea’s official website, James said: “I know I’ve got big shoes to fill because we have had huge captains here in the past, but I am excited. I have been at Chelsea pretty much my whole life. I started here when I was six and to come through the Academy is tough. But to go on and become captain, it’s a great feeling for me and my family.” The England international will wear the armband as club captain for the first time when Chelsea host Liverpool in their Premier League opener on Sunday.