The England international, who heads to Euro 2020 as European champion at club level after helping Chelsea beat Man City last month, has drawn attention in the Champions League final keeping Raheem Sterling silent.
And reflecting on his season for Thomas Tuchel’s side, he admitted that he sees both the former Rouge and Mane as the two toughest players he has locked the horns with on the flanks.
“Everyone knows how good a player Raheem Sterling is,” he admitted to reporters. “It’s very hard to play against him.
“He’s probably one of the best wingers in the world right now and we’ll need him for this tournament.
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“Raheem Sterling is definitely up there (like the toughest) and I would probably say (Sadio) Mane too. “
As Euro 2020 approaches, James will face less competition to make Gareth Southgate’s starting XI after Trent Alexander-Arnold withdraws from the squad due to injury.
Ruining the absence of his Liverpool counterpart despite increasing his own debut chances, Chelsea right-back paid tribute to the 22-year-old as he acknowledged he faced a long-term battle to start for England.
“There are a number of good right-backs in this position,” he said.
“Obviously, Trent has stepped down and there are so many others who weren’t selected as well.
“Since he got injured, I haven’t really spoken to him. It’s disappointing that he’s not there, but we know how good a player he is and how well he has done for Liverpool and England.
“The situation has changed slightly.
“Maybe before, 15 or 20 years ago, you were more of a defender, but now the position has adapted and you also have the license to move forward.
“You can kind of do both, attacking and defending, and there are a lot of great players in my position (who can do that). “