Pictured at Stamford Bridge, Nigel James, surrounded by his children Reece (to his left) and Lauren (to his right).
“Every day, I find myself in disbelief. It’s a dream for most parents to have even one child represent England, let alone two.”
Regardless of the downpour taking place outside Marlow in Buckinghamshire, nothing can quell the jubilance of Nigel James, reflecting on recent occurrences amidst the swelter of Adelaide.
The 21-year-old has been a standout player in the tournament, scoring a brace and assisting three goals in England’s decisive 6-1 victory over China on Monday.
However, Nigel, distinguished as the inaugural father to have offspring in both the England men’s and women’s teams, expresses no shock over his daughter’s accomplishments.
Click here for the latest updates from the Women’s World Cup.
“Anyone who’s watched Lauren from when she was six or seven can testify to her prowess,” said James in an interview with Sport Newes Center.
“It’s fantastic, it’s high-grade, but that’s Lauren for you. She’s dedicated her life to training, she’s committed and has always had a fixation on becoming a footballer. It’s all she’s ever aspired to do.
“She always relished competing against boys and has trained with premier academy players who are now active in the Premier League.”
James runs his own coaching business, with a mission to help young people realize their goals.
He informed the BBC in 2021 that his children played football every day growing up.
“If they weren’t engaging in games with friends post-school, they’d be playing with each other. Few families had the access to resources and time that they did; they had a field and all the necessary equipment. They had poles, goals, and a continuous supply of footballs, given my coaching role.
“Sometimes, I’d coach them; at other times, they’d independently repeat the drills we’d done in a session, working on specific skills.”
Lauren started training with the Arsenal women’s team at the age of 13, before joining the newly formed Manchester United side in the Women’s Championship. She moved to Chelsea in 2021 and made her England debut in 2021.
Lauren is pictured holding the Champions League trophy with her older brother Reece after Chelsea’s win over Manchester City in the 2021 final.
As James reflects on his daughter’s rise to the pinnacle of the sport, following a friendly match played by his under-18 side beneath the stormy summer clouds, he exudes tranquility amidst the mounting anticipation for World Cup victory within the nation.
He intends to journey to Australia for the tournament’s later stages, having watched the group stages on TV due to his coaching commitments and fatherly responsibilities.
Lauren James: ‘Did special things’ in England’s victory over China.
“I had to get some work done at Lauren’s house,” he shared. “Her mum is already there, and I’ve been handling the moving process. Driving the van, carrying the washing machine around. I’m not there in Australia, but here, and it feels like I’m doing something meaningful for my kids.
“I’ve been watching the games at home, in solitude, with friends and family. When she scored, we just looked at each other, then the screen, and embraced each other.
“Such moments make you think, ‘Wow’.
“I’ve witnessed her do things like that before. She has a remarkable technique honed over many years, but witnessing it at the World Cup is astounding.
“It fills me with pride to say that we are the first family to have two children – a boy and a girl – playing for England [since record-keeping started].”
After the game, James shared a few whispered words of encouragement with his daughter over the phone.
“I told her how proud I was after the game,” he continued. “I told her that she had made both the family and the country proud. Encouraged her to continue the momentum, to rest well and then get back to it.
“She simply replied, ‘Thanks dad’.”
Having guided Lauren’s development from an early age, Nigel, whose career in non-league football was prematurely ended by an injury leading him to coaching, claims it would have been a grave anomaly if his daughter hadn’t reached the top.
“There was a period when people were concentrated on fitness and her work off the ball, but sometimes you need to focus more on what they can do rather than their limitations,” James observed.
“Myself and her brothers had to constantly remind her of her incredible talent. She controls the ball effortlessly and with no pressure.
“We don’t get to see players like Diego Maradona or Ronaldinho as often anymore, so seeing a female player of that caliber makes you think ‘wow’.”
James’s hat-trick places her as the joint-second top scorer in the World Cup, just one goal behind Japan’s Hinata Miyazawa.
When asked if she could become a future Ballon d’Or Feminin recipient, James confidently responded: “She can go as far as she desires. If she maintains her fitness and keeps developing, why not?”
England’s Round of 16 match against Nigeria will be live on BBC One on Monday, August 7, at 08:30 BST.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Lauren James
Who is Lauren James?
Lauren James is a professional footballer who is part of England’s national women’s team. She is also the younger sister of Reece James, a player for Chelsea and England’s men’s team. Lauren has been a standout player in the Women’s World Cup in Australia, scoring a brace and assisting three goals in England’s decisive 6-1 victory over China.
How did Lauren James start her football career?
Lauren began training with the Arsenal women’s team at the age of 13 before moving to Manchester United. In 2021, she moved to Chelsea and made her debut with the England national team the following year.
What is notable about the James family in English football?
The James family is the first to have children play for both the men’s and women’s England teams since records began. This has been acknowledged by their father, Nigel James, who is also a football coach.
What is Nigel James’ view of his daughter’s success?
Nigel James expressed no surprise over his daughter’s success, noting that anyone who’s watched Lauren from a young age could testify to her prowess. He expressed immense pride in his children’s accomplishments.
What does Nigel James do for a living?
Nigel James runs a coaching business, with the mission to help young people achieve their ambitions in football. He previously had a non-league football career, which was cut short by injury.
What are Nigel James’ future plans for the Women’s World Cup?
He intends to travel to Australia for the later stages of the tournament after having watched the group stages on TV due to his coaching commitments and fatherly responsibilities.