Having arrived in a £15m deal from Championship side Swansea, Daniel James enjoyed an impressive start to life at Manchester United.
The Wales international struck three times in his first four games in the Premier League, and looked every bit a bargain. But since then, things have dried up considerably, with the winger now having not found the net since the end of August.
At only 22 years old, and having come up from the league below, it’s perhaps unsurprising that James has suffered somewhat of a dip in form. But his performance against Chelsea on Monday night gives Ole Gunnar Solskjaer some serious food for thought over the coming days and weeks.
Despite his registering a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge, James was on the periphery of the game, failing to get involved and finding himself marginalised from the action. As per Sofascore, he managed just 22 touches in the 80 minutes that he was on the pitch – a particularly damning statistic when you realise that United goalkeeper, David de Gea, also saw the ball the same number of times.
There was no doubting the game-plan was to try and hit Chelsea on the break, with James and Martial often seen drifting out wide in transitions. But that only meant the Red Devils’ attackers had very little service to feed off, and the former could register eight total passes.
The Welshman also failed to register a single shot on goal, won just two out of his eight duels, and lost possession 11 times. Whilst there aren’t many too options for Solskjaer to turn to, particularly in the shape of natural wingers, someone like Mason Greenwood is surely worth a chance for a run in the team.
James could simultaneously do with the rest, and perhaps the kick up the backside of being dropped to the bench, and that may end up reinvigorating him for the back end of the campaign. Solskjaer must be ruthless with his under-performing ace, and take him out of the starting line-up for the foreseeable future.