If you know your women’s football then you will have heard of the name Lauren James.
The English starlet is considered one of the brightest prospects in the game – and rightly so.
The 19-year-old’s extended move to Chelsea from Manchester United, which could reach £ 200,000, was finally confirmed on Friday after months of negotiations.
Unsurprisingly, the Red Devils have played hard on the price of James, who had expressed a desire to be closer to his family in London.
The inevitable connections will be with Reece James, Lauren’s brother, who is also in the Blues books.
But Lauren shouldn’t be called just “Reece James’ sister” – she’s a big name in her own right.
James’ technical process belies his years, while his ability to push past players is effortless. But its success did not happen overnight.
She’s a girl who was born to win from a young age, and a lot of that comes from her father Nigel.
James Sr, a former professional footballer who runs his own coaching school, has been instrumental in the development of his two children.
The couple, along with their older brother Joshua, used to be challenged in their back garden by their father as they went through hours and hours of extra training exercises.
“It was just about playing,” James Sr told The Guardian last year.
“I used to give them challenges in the back garden and if they did well I would give them 20p and then another 20p. Before you know it you changed £ 20 to 20ps and they are all gone! It became fun.
“The main thing was that they were doing the right things. If you don’t know what standard you need to set for yourself, there’s no way they will improve.
“In the end, they pushed each other to get better. I was doing it as a job and they came to train with me, so it was like, “If you want to be good at this then this is what you have to do.”
Lauren certainly did, and in the unconventional way too.
She’s a girl who only ever played with boys growing up, including Conor Gallagher, Jacob Maddox, and of course, Reece.
“It’s not been a few years since I’ve even started training properly with girls,” James told The Independent in 2019.
“It was more difficult to play against boys. At first they looked at you like “why is there a girl training with us”?
“But after a few weeks they realized what I could do. I’ve always been confident playing with people older than me.
His breakthrough first came at Arsenal, where, in September 2017, James became the second youngest player in club history to make his debut at the age of just 16.
But her path to regular football turned blurry, so she decided the time had come for her to seek a new chapter.
James traded the Gunners for the Red Devils in 2018 and scored 14 goals in winning the FA Women’s Championship in their inaugural season.
She had established herself as a mainstay of the United squad in recent years, but a turbulent time behind the scenes, coupled with Casey Stoney’s departure as head coach, paved the way for James’ return. in London.
The defeat of Manchester United will be the gain of Chelsea, that’s for sure.
Lauren James. You won’t forget the name.