This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Despite being the first of Manchester United’s summer signings, Daniel James was arguably the least heralded arrival at Old Trafford once the transfer window shut. The Wales international arrived in a rather low-key £15m deal from Championship side Swansea, and saw new teammates Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire go for more than £50m each. But after a series of stunning performances, there can be no question it’s the 21-year-old who has been the Red Devils’ biggest silver lining this season.
The electric young winger has enjoyed a remarkable goal-scoring start to his United career, netting against Chelsea on the opening day, and bagging against Crystal Palace too. Then, on Saturday, the Welshman’s fine curling strike opened the scoring for the Red Devils, whilst his overall performance was something to behold too.
The youngster lined up on the left-hand side of United’s attack, and gave Southampton’s Cedric a torrid afternoon on the south coast. The 5 foot 7 ace was the Red Devils’ biggest threat throughout the game, and is beginning to carve out a trademark finish to his name. The right-footed curler after cutting inside has brought him two goals in his last two games, and the Saints simply did not know how to stop it.
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James registered four shots on target by the end of the game – double that of Marcus Rashford, who was given the nod up front. The former Swansea man could have been the architect behind a United win if it weren’t for some errant finishing and poor positioning from his teammates. The 21-year-old had a joint game-high six crosses and delivered two key passes, but often saw his dangerous balls into the box go to waste.
After a stunning 4-0 win over Chelsea, the excitement at Old Trafford has tempered somewhat. But one man who can definitely hold his head up high is the diminutive Welsh winger.