Chelsea and England defender Reece James is looking for the club’s fortunes to improve after the Blues slumped to a 12th place Premier League finish last season

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Reece James feels the “energy” is returning to Chelsea, after branding last season the “worst”.

The England right back says some of his team-mates didn’t want to be at Stamford Bridge, and losing so much - 22 times in all competitions - wrecked morale. New boss Mauricio Pochettino has had a clear out this summer axing 12 first team players so far with three more poised to leave including Romelu Lukaku.

Reece has given an upbeat assessment of pre-season under Pochettino and says they are on a mission again - and wants to be in the running to be the new club skipper after Cesar Azpilicueta’s departure. He is fit again after sickness last week prevented his participation in Chelsea ’s Premier League Summer Series game against Brighton.

James said: “Since the new staff and manager have come, the energy has changed. It has been a very good atmosphere, you can see that in our recent performances. It is definitely going to be a tough season, there is no easy one in the Premier League. It was very difficult last season, the toughest I have experienced.

“There was lots of change, some players didn’t want to be there. That was difficult. Now it is on to a new page and we are looking forward to the season.

“Last season we had a lot of bad results and bad results had an effect. It is not the best to be around. But this season there are a lot of fresh faces. It is a new start. That has had a big impact on the players so far, and everyone is excited and can’t wait to get started.”

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Reece James and his team-mates struggled last season Reece James and his team-mates struggled last season (


AFP via Getty Images)

James, who has not played through injury since April, posted a diary entry recently saying the season was the “lowest.”

He explained: “It was mostly related to injuries and last season. It was super tough when you get injury after injury after injury and you can’t do the job you enjoy. It is tough and frustrating and it takes its toll on you.”

Asked what influence Pochettino has had on that change in mood, saw the Chelsea boss grab the mic and intervene. “For sure very positive!” joked Poch.

New boss Mauricio Pochettino is looking to improve the Blues' fortunes New boss Mauricio Pochettino is looking to improve the Blues’ fortunes (


Getty Images for Premier League)

One ambition of James’ is to wear the armband. “Of course I have been at Chelsea all my life. It is something I have dreamed of so hopefully it happens when the time is right,” he said.

“Everyone has a different way of leading. Some speak, some show actions on the pitch. I can do both. I’d like to think so. I try to help my team, the young players and will help where I can.”

Despite finishing tenth last term, James reckons Chelsea can bounce back with a trophy. He added: “We are Chelsea football club and we are ambitious. We don’t enter anything not to win.

“I don’t see why us winning this season is not possible. We have a strong group and we will get stronger the longer we play together and understand each other.”