Lauren James of the England U19 team prepares to take a corner England U19 v Turkey U19 UEFA European Womens Under-19 Championship football match, St George's Park National Football Centre, Burton-on-Trent, UK - 03 Apr 2019 Photo: Jon Super for The FA

Lauren James: The prodigy with a desire for success

Despite being just 18 years of age, Lauren James has become integral part of Casey Stoney’s Manchester United side.

The youngster has flourished since her move to the Leigh Sports Village scoring 22 goals in 37 appearances for her side, whilst providing a continual flow of goalscoring opportunities for her teammates.

The football prodigy started her career at Arsenal after being scouted at just 13. However, she struggled to gain many first team chances despite holding the accolade of the second youngest player to debut. The teenager has always possessed the ability to play amongst players her senior and shine. It is something which she may owe to her footballing father and brothers, including Chelsea defender Reece James, who is on-loan at Wigan Athletic, who inspired her to follow her dreams.

Stoney offered the highly-rated forward an opportunity she could not miss and James has never looked back since. A player who possesses so much talent, she has the ability to walk out of trouble to create a scoring opportunity from nothing. She draws in defenders with her quick and skilful feet freeing up space for her teammates to take advantage. Her ability is eye-catching, second to none, something which Stoney believes places her as ‘one of the best in her age group.’ The United boss also rates James as having ‘something she has never seen in the women’s game before’, backing her to emulate the greats of the game like Kelly Smith and Kim Little.

Her debut against Liverpool back in 2018 and both hers (and the club’s) first two league goals in a 12-0 triumph over Aston Villa, earned James the Pllayer of the Month award. She has gone from strength-to-strength with regular appearances under her belt. With her success for her club side, it was only a matter of time before the national team came calling. She made her England Under-17 debut in a 2-0 loss to the USA and went on to captain her side in a 10-0 victory in the 2018 UEFA Women’s Under-17 Championship qualifying, netting four goals against Latvia. More recently, James received a call-up to the Under-19 age bracket.

As she makes her way through the youth ranks it is assured that in time, she will gain her senior call-up under Phil Neville for the Lionesses.

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