- Dan James joined Manchester United in a £15m move from Swansea this summer
- A year ago, the 22-year-old wasn’t even a first-team regular in the Championship
- But the Wales winger has shone under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since joining United
Manchester United star Dan James admits he is still coming to terms with his new-found status
The 22-year-old has excelled at Old Trafford since joining in the summer from Swansea City
James has played more games under boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer than many people expected
He has been on the receiving end of poor tackles – including this from Brighton’s Lewis Dunk
Dan James admits he is still coming to terms with being a Premier League star at Manchester United and has to remind himself: ‘I’m here for a reason’.
James gave another excellent display on the right wing for United in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Brighton at Old Trafford.
Brighton manager Graham Potter, who gave James his full debut at Swansea City, acknowledged afterwards that James wasn’t even a first-team regular in the Championship this time last year.
The Wales winger, who turned 22 on Sunday, is making the most of his opportunity following a £15million move from Swansea to United in the summer.
James has played more games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer than many people expected, but he admits that making the transition has not been easy.
‘Coming in was always going to be tough and it was going to be different from playing in the Championship,’ he said. ‘I think I’ve taken it in my stride, tried to calm myself down a bit and think “I’m here for a reason”.
‘At the start of the season, I maybe didn’t think I would play as much. Every game I’ve been learning and the gaffer has trusted me and I’ve really enjoyed it.’
James has formed a lightning forward line with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial that epitomises the quick, counter-attacking football Solskjaer wants at United.
He added: ‘We’re really enjoying our football at the minute. Maybe it’s taken a few weeks to mould but we’ve all got that connection together and it’s important.
‘Since Anthony has come back in, we’ve got that focal point. He’s a great link-up player. He can come short or go in behind.
‘It’s been important for me and for Marcus since he’s come back into the team to get that interlink. Since he’s come back, he’s got goals and he’s got assists and he’s been great for us.’
Asked who is the fastest between him and Rashford, James replied: ‘Marcus says me but I think we would have a good race!’
James’s pace means that he has been on the receiving end of some rough treatment from defenders, from United’s pre-season tour right through to Sunday’s game when Lewis Dunk and Dan Burn were both booked for talking down him down. Dunk’s challenge conceded the free-kick that led to United’s second goal.
‘I’ve been used to it,’ said James. ‘Last season in the Championship I had a lot of hits. If a defender hits you and you stay down, he might think he’s got the better of you so to get up and keep going is important.
‘It’s part of the game. If I can get forward and win free-kicks high up then it’s good. It’s important to keep getting back up, keep playing and I enjoy it.’