Daniel James.

Exclusive: James is just getting started at United

Tuesday 07 January 2020 06:00

Daniel James is determined to add more goals and assists to his output, as the lightning-quick forward enters the second half of a terrific debut season at Manchester United.

James was signed from Swansea City last summer and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told his young recruit that he would probably play 15 to 20 games in his maiden campaign, while he adjusted to the club.

However, after an impressive pre-season tour and an electric start to 2019/20, Daniel quickly became one of the first names on our team sheet and he has 25 appearances to his name already.

James has also scored three goals and notched seven assists across all competitions, which is an admirable return at this stage of his fledgling career. 

Speaking during an exclusive interview that appears in tonight’s edition of United Review, the official matchday programme at Old Trafford, James outlines his determination to enhance those statistics in the next five months.

“I’m very pleased,” says James. “When I came here I didn’t expect to play so much at the start, but I have, and that’s big credit to the gaffer and the staff here. Now it’s about me continuing to do what I’ve been doing, I want to look at how I can add more goals and more assists to help the team."

James’s three goals were scored in August, against Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Southampton. When asked if that rapid start helped him to settle at United, the young Wales international is clear in his response. 

“One hundred per cent,” he says. “I came on in the Chelsea game with a bit less pressure given we were 3-0 up already and it was about how I could get into a position to score. It was an unbelievable feeling and then going into the next few games with a couple more goals really helped me settle in.

“When the gaffer brought me in, he told me that I would play an important role here. Maybe I didn’t think I’d play as much as I’ve played now but that’s down to the gaffer and the staff pushing me and me working hard, and that’s something I’ll continue to do.”

Of course, James is expected to feature this evening when Solskjaer’s Reds host local rivals Manchester City in the first leg of a much-anticipated Carabao Cup semi-final at Old Trafford. 

The forward played an important role during the recent Premier League victory at the Etihad Stadium, when his pace and decisive passing caused problems for the Blues’ injury-plagued defence. 

As Daniel explains in this evening’s edition of United Review, this type of high-profile fixture and the opportunity to win trophies are among the reasons he joined United last summer.
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90 in 20: Man City 1 United 2

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“Definitely,” he says. “Since I came here the main thing is about winning trophies, that’s what I want to do. It’s obviously going to be a big tie over two legs but I think we can go into it with our heads held high. Obviously we had a great result there [in December]. It was a tough game but we came out on top and it gave us a lift going into the other games after it.

“I think for the fans it was a great game to watch; playing in it is something a lot different. I know there is a big rivalry and you could feel that. As soon as the game started it was just about concentration. We were 2-0 up by half-time and then it was just about going out there in the second half and sticking to that concentration.

“As a young boy you want to play for the biggest club and to play in a game like this, a Manchester derby, it’s something I’ve always dreamt of. The one at the Etihad was great but obviously it will be great to play at Old Trafford tonight in another Manchester derby.”

Read the full interview with Daniel James in United Review.

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