Chelsea’s stars dubbed ‘world’s best’ face difficult seasons

Reece James has previously been praised as ‘world-class’ by Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino (Image: Getty). Chelsea duo Benoit Badiashile and Reece James have been recognized as among the world’s best players in their respective positions, but they have struggled to meet that standard in the current season due to injuries and loss of form. These challenges have prevented both defenders from making a significant impact at Stamford Bridge under Mauricio Pochettino. Badiashile and James have only played a combined 19 Premier League matches this season.

James has been limited to just 390 minutes of top-flight action because of a long-standing hamstring injury and subsequent surgery. Consequently, he has been unable to feature prominently during his first season as Chelsea’s captain and faces a race to be fit for Euro 2024. Soon after Badiashile’s arrival from Monaco, former Manchester City defender Micah Richards spoke highly of him, stating, “Badiashile is one of the brightest young talents there is in world football and he’s playing very well.” (Image: Getty).

However, the 23-year-old has struggled to justify this view and has failed to find the form that convinced Chelsea to pay £32.5m to Monaco just over a year ago. Chelsea head coach lamented his absence, believing that he is one of the world’s best full-backs. James is highly regarded among his colleagues, with Trevoh Chalobah expressing that the 24-year-old was world-class as far back as October 2022. Despite James and Badiashile’s absence, Malo Gusto has excelled at right-back.

However, Pochettino’s side has lacked quality in central defense. Looking ahead, Chelsea will hope that Badiashile and James can have undisrupted seasons next term, as both will be key to kickstarting the next era under Todd Boehly.

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