The England international’s season has been blighted by injury problems and Thursday’s draw at Old Trafford was only his third Premier League start since December.
Along with Ben Chilwell, James’ absence coincided with a downturn in performance, costing Chelsea a title challenge as both Liverpool and Manchester City raced clear following some early promise.
Even despite missing much of the campaign, the 22-year-old ranks second behind Mason Mount for League goal involvements this season and once again impressed in Manchester on Thursday.
One of Chelsea’s standout players, James was unlucky to have hit the post after a wonderfully taken curling effort in the second-half and perhaps should have had an assist, although Kai Havertz could not covert following a delicious cross.
Amid so much uncertainty as to what the future holds – particularly in defence – for Chelsea, their academy graduates continues to receive plaudits.
“What a player Reece James is,” said Keane during Sky Sports’ coverage.
“He looks like a boxer. His distribution, movement, strength. He seems like a nice kid too. He’s a clever lad, could play in any position.
“Chelsea are a lucky club to have him. Outstanding.”