Reece James has pointed towards the likes of Patrice Evra and Jordi Alba as left backs who he watches regularly in order to better himself as a defender.
The 19-year-old spent the early part of this season out on loan at Carlisle United but returned due to injury and has since gone back into Warren Joyce’s Under-21s, where his versatility has seen him play in midfield rather than his natural left back role.
However, he sees his future in his natural position and has admitted that his older brother Matty James, who plays at Leicester, is also a big influence on how he plays his football.
“I go and watch Patrice Evra and other players in different countries,” he said.
“I like to watch Jordi Alba a lot. He is a very attack-minded full-back who can defend as well. I just want to become the best I can be.
“Matty is a massive influence on my career. I remember watching him when I was 10 years old and I still watch him now he’s at Leicester. He watches my games, either on MUTV or live and tells me where I can improve as a player.
“He’s helped me at left-back because you can have similar attributes to the midfield position. I was trying to do better than him but, at the same time, it was very pleasing to see what he was doing, like captaining England [youth side] at Wembley. It was a great day for all the family to watch him there.”
At United, left-back is a position where there is going to be a swathe of changes in the next couple of years. Patrice Evra is coming towards the end of his United career and Moyes hasn’t yet chosen his understudy. The likes of Fabio and Alexander Buttner are options but it is a place in the squad that is up for grabs.
It was unfortunate for James that an injury cut short his loan spell but if he can work hard with the Under-21s this year, there is every chance he could put himself into first squad contention in the future.