Daniel James may only have come to Manchester United in the summer, but he is already one of the main men in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s line-up.
That is according to Danny Mills, who was speaking to Football Insider about the 21-year-old’s frequent involvement in the team.
While the former England international praised the impact that James has made in his first few months at Old Trafford, he added that it is a sign of Manchester United’s decline that they are placing such responsibility on a young newcomer to the club.
Mills told Football Insider: “Dan James is probably the only one where you look at him, he’s almost become the main man at Manchester United.
“The new kid on the block, you’d usually you’d get 10 minutes off the bench, 20 minutes off the bench, a start in the cup, maybe a start in the league, back on the bench for two or three games – that’s the way Manchester United used to be with young players in the squad.
“Suddenly now he’s almost the first name on the team sheet and he’s the go-to guy to create chances and score goals. That speaks volumes about Manchester United and the dire situation Manchester United are in.”
When looking at James’ statistics for the season so far, it’s understandable why Mills is hailing him as one of United’s main attacking outlets.
The ex-Swansea winger scored in three of his first four league games for Solskjaer’s team, finding the net against Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Southampton. [via TransferMarkt]
Mills is correct in identifying James as one of the few goal threats that the Red Devils have had this season, but the Welsh youngster hasn’t provided a whole lot in the way of creating chances.
The 21-year-old may have scored three goals but has yet to record an assist for Manchester United, while he has only provided 0.4 key passes per game, an average bettered by 12 other players in the squad.
Although only three players at United have exceeded his crossing average of 0.4 per game, that figure still lags far behind Ashley Young’s match average of 3.3. [via WhoScored]
Also, defensive midfielders Fred and Scott McTominay have managed to register assists in the opening weeks of the season, so James may be disappointed that he hasn’t been able to do the same; while his initial scoring burst has given way to six games without a goal, having played the full 90 minutes in four of those.
James hit the ground running upon his arrival at Old Trafford, but he could do with a few goal involvements soon if he is to remain as much of a scoring and creative threat as Mills has said and avoid his strong start becoming a distant memory.
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