Wigan Athletic have secured the services of Chelsea youngster Reece James on loan – with the signing proving to be a rather monumental coincidence.

The 18-year-old right-back is not to be confused with the 24-year-old he is effectively replacing, also named Reece James. The Latics released the older fullback at the end of last season after three years with the club.

Many fans opted to make fun of that situation, joking that Wigan would be able to save money on James’s locker ID and car park space. The 18-year-old has agreed to a deal which will see him spend next term with the Championship side.

Even though James won the Chelsea Academy Player of the season last term, he would likely have not received regular playing time had he remained at Stamford Bridge ahead of the new season.

The Blues are expected to undergo a massive squad overhaul as they look to rebuild after missing out on Champions League qualification.

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James has tremendous potential and he helped Chelsea win the FA Youth Cup, U18 Premier League and U18 Premier League Cup last season. The move to Wigan will allow him to gain first-team exposure at senior level.

After winning League One last season, the Latics will be aiming to avoid relegation from the Championship in 2018/2019. This opportunity will present James with a perfect chance to prove that he has what it takes to succeed, potentially challenging for a first-team spot at Chelsea ahead of the 2019/2020 season.

Latics manager Paul Cook said: “Reece is a really exciting young player and we are delighted to get him here to Wigan Athletic for his first loan away from Chelsea.

“In my time with the club, right back is an area we have been short at times and competition is really healthy for the squad.