This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
When Daniel James made his rather low-key arrival at Old Trafford earlier in the summer, perhaps nobody could have expected just how important he would end up being in the first few months of his Manchester United career.
Even the 21-year-old himself has admitted to being surprised by the sheer number of games he has already played for the club.
“I came to United maybe thinking I could be a fringe player. I wanted to try and get in the team as quick as I could but I thought it may take a bit more time. I got chucked in a lot earlier than I thought. But I was ready for it. I worked hard during the summer. It was about proving people wrong and showing what I can do.”
The Wales international has featured 15 times across all competitions this season, scoring three times and providing a further three assists. In what has been a hugely disappointing campaign for the Red Devils – they currently lie in tenth in the Premier League – James has been one of the bright sparks.
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And that is exactly why reports of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer planning on handing him a rest to avoid the risk of burnout simply cannot be facilitated. James has provided genuine pace, width and sheer energy to the United team whenever he has played, and according to Whoscored, has averaged 1.5 shots, 0.8 dribbles and 0.7 crosses per game in the top-flight.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Red Devils legend Rio Ferdinand paid a glowing tribute to the immediate impact James has had on the team.
“I don’t think they (United) expected what they have got from Daniel James so early on in his Manchester United career. You’re buying someone from Swansea who was probably brought in as someone who is going to flourish at a later date. However, he’s been forced to the forefront as their main man in the team at the moment.”
Resting the winger anytime soon when the side are in such a precarious position in the league would be waving the white flag. The Red Devils have a serious issue with scoring goals this season, netting just 13 times in their opening 11 league games, and taking away one of their main threats could do untold harm to their chances of going on a winning run.
So whilst the sentiment behind wanting to mollycoddle the Welshman is understandable, United quite frankly, are not in a position to rest a man who could hold the key to success this season.