In the last six games, Lauren James has contributed to 6 Chelsea goals. Even that stat doesn’t display how Lauren James has played recently since fully returning from her injury. Despite the length of time her knee injury put her on the sidelines, Lauren James has retained her explosive nature on and off the ball.
Emma Hayes and Chelsea have eased James back into the side, not wanting to rush or aggravate any potential tears or issues. This has worked wonders for James, who is starting to finally look like the player Chelsea bought for what was once a WSL record transfer fee. And with the likes of Chloe Kelly, Alessia Russo, Jess Park, and Ebony Salmon coming into their own ever since her injury issues started in 20/21.
James missed out on being a regular starter during the Euros in 2022 due to her injury issues over the past few seasons, so her motivation must have been sky-high to put her name into the hat for a starting place at the 2023 World Cup. If she can keep up her recent performances then she definitely has a case to present to Serena Weigmann.
Furthermore, James has played this well against the likes of Spurs, Arsenal, PSG, and Spurs again; as well as dropping a masterclass in Chelsea’s dismantling of West Ham during the FA Cup Semi-Final. Lauren has been performing when it mattered for Chelsea, not just in fixtures against FAWNL sides (without offending them of course).
This is important because Lauren James is 21, and that means she’s going to be expected to compete with England and the world’s best in competitions such as the UWCL, and WSL, as well as internationally. She’s no longer that breakout 18-year-old of a few seasons ago, she’s going to need to step up when it gets tough for Chelsea.
Luckily for her, it seems that Chelsea (and specifically Emma Hayes) may be a good fit for her to progress into the world-class player she has shown. Speaking after her debut in November 2021, James said, “I’ve been trying to find my feet again so I can stay on the pitch. My main goal is to stay fit and stay on the pitch.”
“I’ve been working on my injuries wherever I had them, to make those areas stronger so I can prevent that happening again. Previously I haven’t taken as much time to get my body right. Coming in and having a good team around me to help get my body right and conditioned to be able to cope with what’s needed will help in the long run.”
This shows that James has faith in Chelsea to give her what’s best for her career long term. Chelsea are one of the best clubs in Europe, having dominated English football for the last 4 seasons, and also getting to the Champions League final in 2020. Understandably, James wants to be a part of this competitive side, she wants to compete for the best and biggest trophies, and most importantly, she understands the need for patience and trusts Hayes and Chelsea to make her the best player possible.