James set for another step in his career
Manchester United winger Daniel James appreciates he is set to take another step in his fledgling career, as he prepares for what would be his European debut with the Reds.
The shrewd summer signing from Swansea City has appeared in the Premier League and Carabao Cup for the Reds but missed the home win over Astana in our first Europa League fixture due to injury.
Although he has played internationally after forcing his way into Ryan Giggs's Wales side, James has yet to taste European club football, and this would be another part of his development as our Player of the Month winner for August and nominee for September continues to make his mark with United.
The 21-year-old is in the squad for Thursday's Group L tie against AZ Alkmaar and is excited by the prospect of being involved.
“If selected, obviously it will be my first game in Europe and one I’m looking forward to,” he told MUTV.
“It’s somewhere I've always wanted to play.
“I've had my taste of the Premier League and now playing in Europe is always different. Astana came to us and some people wrote them off before they played but they gave us a good game. I think you can never write these teams off. They wouldn’t be in the competition if they weren’t very good teams. Every game we play in Europe, we have got to be ready for it and prepare right.
“It was important to get off to a good start and it [Alkmaar] is another one where we have to go and win as it just takes the pressure off us really. That comes with people expecting us to go through in the group, so to get two early wins would be great.”
The fact the game will be played on artificial turf at the Cars Jeans Stadium, home of ADO Den Haag, due to issues with AZ's arena, holds no fears for the speedy wide man.
“All the boys played on them [artificial pitches] growing up,” he said.
“It's going to be a different test , obviously, as playing abroad is always hard. It's different to play in the Premier League but it's one we're looking forward to and are going to be ready for.
“I think the surfaces [synthetic and grass] are similar really. It's a bit harder than normal grass but the ball moves the same on it.
“It's something the boys know they can't do anything about and it's not something we're going to let get into our heads.”
James is convinced United are prepared for the start of a seven-game spell that features six on the road, as he feels the huddle in the aftermath of Scott McTominay's belting goal against Arsenal showed the morale and togetherness within the camp.
“As you see, when we score, we're all together and, when we concede, we're all together,” he added.
“It's so important. We've got a great group here and the team spirit is a massive part of it.”
Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on ManUtd.com. Download the Official App here.