Voted for by a poll of German football journalists, the award has been given to our boss on the back of him leading the Blues to Champions League glory in Porto, as well as securing us a top-four finish and a place in the FA Cup final.
‘I accept the award very gratefully as a great honour for the entire team because I see myself as a team player,’ said Tuchel on receiving the award.
‘I don’t believe in individual awards too much, I truly believe it is a team effort, not only the players on the pitch everybody loves, but the team behind the team. I don’t do this alone. I do it with my staff, not only my German and Hungarian staff but all the people at Cobham. It’s incredible to be part of because there we have an incredible amount of quality and support.
‘Football teams can win without the coaches, but coaches cannot win without the team. It’s a reward for the team and what we did, and now let’s get on.’
However, it is no surprise for Reece to see his sister enjoying success in the game, having been impressed by her ability as they grew up training and playing together, along with the oldest of the three James siblings, Josh.
‘I hadn’t seen many better players than her. Whenever we played together, I was always quite impressed. She played in the boys’ games all the time when I was younger – whenever I trained, she would train as well.’
He also believes that time spent playing together as youngsters helped them to develop their talents and set them on the path to professional football.
‘We grew up as a three. Obviously, my older brother Josh learned from my dad and then it just passed its way down. I started playing because my brother played, and my sister played because I played. We all used to play every day together at the park and over time we all gradually got better.
‘When we were young it was just a case of play with the ball, play as much as you can, and learn as much as you can without any help, get a love for the game. We moved to west London when I was about two and there was a field behind my house with two pitches. Every day we’d be playing football, either on the field or in the street.’
Having seen the rapid rise Reece has made at Stamford Bridge since scoring on his senior Chelsea debut in September 2019, if Lauren can continue following in his footsteps then there should be a member of the James family getting fans out of their seats at Kingsmeadow too this season.
The winger is also seeing what he has been missing out on in previous pre-seasons, enjoying meeting up with his team-mates again, even if he admits it feels a bit weird to be back to business as usual and preparing for a new campaign so soon after that incredible night in Porto less than two months ago.
‘It’s great to be back and see the guys again and getting ready for a new season. In a way it is a bit surreal, it’s starting to feel like, just straight back to work, that kind of feeling, almost like it never happened. But it’s great to be back and see the guys again and be getting ready for a new season.
‘It’s been really good so far. I think it’s been a good start, I’m starting to feel fit again and ready to go and I think the team’s looking good. It’s been just what we need, we can just focus on what we need to do to get ready for the start of the season.
‘We had the game against Peterborough as well, so we started really well by getting a win, and it was a very strong performance as well.’
Those who exited Euro 2020 at either the last-16 or the quarter-final stage, plus some of the others who were away from Chelsea on loan last season, were out on the pitch for the first time where they were greeted by Thomas Tuchel.
Clearly these players are behind those who returned from holiday earlier in terms of fitness, so they worked together in their own group, and in the photos below you can see who they are and what they were up to today…
Magda Eriksson returned to the Sweden starting 11 having missed Wednesday’s 3-0 victory over the USA. The Chelsea skipper joined Jonna Andersson in the Sweden backline who were up against the threat of Blues team-mate Kerr.
It was Sweden who dealt the first blow when they took the lead on 20 minutes through Fridolina Rolfo.
Kerr netted in Australia’s 2-1 victory against New Zealand on Wednesday, and she was at it again. The Blues striker got in behind her marker and headed past former Blues goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl to equalise for Australia 10 minutes before the half-time break.
Minutes into the second half and Kerr struck again. The Matildas captain got free in the box and headed in from close-range to give her side a 2-1 lead.
Australia’s lead did not last long though as Sweden levelled through Lina Hurtig on 52 minutes and five minutes later Sweden took a 3-2 lead with Rolfo getting her second goal of the game.
Kerr had the opportunity to equalise moments later when Australia were awarded a penalty, but the Blues striker saw her spot-kick saved by Lindahl.
Australia were made to rue the missed opportunity as Sweden extended their lead with 10 minutes remaining to secure the victory and seal their place in the quarter-finals.