1 assist, 1 goal, and a whole lot of energy… Dan James emerges from the shadows in a spectacular performance against Real Sociedad.
Since his arrival at Manchester United in June 2019, Dan James has been at the forefront of a lot of criticism from fans. He’s struggled to make the Starting XI in first-team games, found difficulty in getting his name on the score sheet, and has had to work hard to improve his execution of crosses into the box, all whilst suffering from the grieving loss of his father. Something that the average person would struggle to cope with, let alone whilst having the eyes of millions of Manchester United fans watching you and criticising your every mistake.
Whether you’re a Dan James lover or a critic, there’s no denying he put on a man-of-the-match worthy performance in the Europa League last night, and before you ask – yes, he was my MOTM. Whilst much of the attention and praise is directed towards Bruno Fernandes after his brace and leadership, I believe we should give credit where it’s due and James was a player who impressed many of us in the most positive and unexpected way last night.
Passing accuracy: 95%
Key passes: 1
Ground duels won: 7
The first half of the game saw James busy carrying the ball up the field, using his incredible pace which stunned Sociedad’s defence, and winning the ball back when the opposition were in possession. He performed well in the first 45, but it wasn’t until the second half that James carried and dominated the counter-attack. He provided an assist on Bruno’s second goal, had a goal disallowed due to Greenwood’s pass being marginally offside, had two shots on target and scored our fourth goal in the 90th minute. Most importantly, he showed the hunger and determination to get his goal up until the final second of the game, which happened to be his 4th in his last 12 appearances – very impressive!
But questions are still being raised about whether James has a future at United. My opinion? Absolutely. His performances typically get overshadowed by the bigger names in the team, but there are games where James is a crucial player in our squad, such as Leeds, Southampton, Newcastle and now Real Sociedad.
I expect he will become a regular starter for the rest of the duration of our Europa League campaign and I hope to see his name on the Starting XI sheet for Sunday’s Premier League tie against Newcastle.
Well done Dan James!
What did you think of James’ performance last night? Leave your opinion in the comments below.