Lauren James: A breakout World Cup star stepping out of brother Reece

Lauren James was the toast of the England team as she helped the Lionesses storm into the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup with a dominant 6-1 win over China in Adelaide.

The Chelsea forward scored two goals and set up another three as her side took top spot in Group D, securing a last-16 clash against Nigeria in Brisbane next Monday.

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The sister of England and Chelsea defender Reece James, 23, also lit up last Friday’s game against Denmark, celebrating her first start at the tournament with a stunning long-range goal.

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But James, fast becoming one of the competition’s breakout stars, has rarely been in the starting line-up for England games, due to the fierce competition for forward places in manager Sarina Wiegman’s squad.

Speaking before the World Cup began, James said she doesn’t want to be known as Reece’s sister, insisting: “I want to carve out (my own name) and be known as ‘this is Lauren James’.”

The 21-year-old, winner of the Young Player of the Year Award at the Women’s Football Awards last season, is taking her chance in the absence of the injured Beth Mead.

A skillful dribbler with a fierce shot, James is always prepared to take on an opponent and regularly makes things happen on the pitch.

But at times she has been criticised for inconsistency, with her performances in the second half of last season falling below the standards of the early part of the campaign.

England's Lauren James celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023, Group D match at the Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, Australia. Picture date: Tuesday August 1, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story WORLDCUP England. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire...RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

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How China v England unfolded

She missed out on last year’s European Championship success because of injury, but said it made her more determined to make an impact at the World Cup.

Lauren Elizabeth James was born in London in September 2001 to a father of Dominican and Grenadan descent and an English mother.

She and Reece, who used to play in the same teams at junior level, had a head start on their rivals from the start, as father, Nigel James, is a UEFA-qualified coach.

She has played for Epsom Eagles, then the Chelsea youth set-up, before moving to Arsenal where she made her first-team debut aged just 16.

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A move to the newly-formed Manchester United women’s side followed, as did an impressive 22 goals in 40 appearances between 2018 and 2021, including some in the Championship, the league below the Women’s Super League (WSL).

In all, she has 38 goals from 109 senior appearances, mostly in the WSL.

She returned to Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge two years ago, where she now plays alongside fellow Lionesses Millie Bright, Jess Carter and Niamh Charles.

Chelsea's Reece James with his sister Lauren James following the the UEFA Champions League final match held at Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Portugal. Picture date: Saturday May 29, 2021.

Image: Lauren James with brother Reece after he helped Chelsea win the 2021 Champions League

James made her senior England debut in a World Cup qualifier against Austria last September and scored her first international goal in February this year during a 4-0 win over South Korea.

In June, it was announced she had signed a new deal, keeping her at the Blues, where she won the WSL title earlier this year, until 2027 and she looks set to be talked about for many years to come.

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