Chris James Turns Pro

Thursday 21 July 2005

The signing of a first professional contract is always a big moment for any young player, and on Wednesday afternoon Fulham's highly-rated young midfielder, Chris James, joined the Club's professional ranks.

The New Zealand born England Youth International signed on the dotted line at Motspur Park and was accompanied by proud parents, Terry and Christine James.

Chris has been a central figure in a number of England Youth sides over recent seasons and has accumulated nearly 30 caps. Last season saw him successfully make the breakthrough into Fulham's Reserve Team.

Speaking to, the all-action midfielder was delighted to have put pen to paper with a two-year deal.

"It's a big day for me. I come from New Zealand which isn't a big footballing country so I'm quite proud to be here," he said. "I moved over when I was 13-years old and managed to join Fulham. It's been a good, solid five years and I'd like to be at Fulham a lot longer.

"I came here as an OK player but the coaches here helped me and pushed me along the way. I progressed well and managed to get a lot of Reserve Team games last year. It's now all about progressing and pushing hard for the First Team."

Manager Chris Coleman was also pleased to have secured James' signature but warned that there was more hard work ahead for the midfielder.

"Chris is a good, technical player," he said. "He's a good passer and has a nice touch on the ball. He's another good prospect and hopefully with a bit of hard work and luck, he could follow the footsteps of Zesh Rehman and some of the other Academy boys. It won't be easy but it's nice to have him on board.

"Before I put the guys in with our First Team in the Premiership, I like them to go out on loan to clubs in the lower leagues to cut their teeth and see if they can handle that.

"One or two of our boys have done that and we've seen some great rewards. We'll be looking at Chris to do the same thing.

"Maybe he'll go out and get a few games and hopefully that will take him to the next step of the ladder.

"We've had some good fortune with the Academy recently, players like Adam Green, Dean Leacock, Zesh Rehman and Michael Timlin have moved up. But not all of the players we produce in the Academy will go on to play Premiership football; a lot of hard work will be required."