Things in football move quickly. Two years ago, Daniel James was wondering if he has a future in football. One year ago, he wanted to join Yeovil Town on loan. Apparently, he found himself at Old Trafford.
The 21-year-old had made 28 League starts for Swansea City when United paid £15m to bring him to Old Trafford this summer.
James has had a great start to the Premier League and has scored three goals in his first four top-flight games.
The midfielder spoke about a rise that has caught himself by surprise. He admitted, “I still don’t believe I’m a Manchester United player.”
“Is football really for me?”
James hoped for his breakthrough when he joined Shrewsbury in June 2017. Unluckily, he failed to get in a single matchday squad and the then League One side canceled his loan at the end of August.
“I came back and thought: is football really for me? Can I make it?” Said, James.
“I played my first game. I came on against Birmingham. It wasn’t my best game. I said to the manager, (Graham Potter), would I be able to go on loan to Yeovil who were League Two at the time?”
“I felt I needed to go out and get experience. And he(Graham Potter) said, ‘No, I think you have got a chance here’”
“If someone told me I’d be at Manchester United a year later, I would tell them to shut up. Everything has happened so quickly.”
“I want to be at the club for my whole career.”
United was so impressed that they had signed James. He has been a key part of Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s team, playing in nine out of 10 games and scoring three goals.
“I wanted to play as many games as I could but didn’t think it would happen so quickly,” James said.
“I still don’t believe I’m a Manchester United player. It’s the stuff you dream of. Even though I’m in the changing room and I know I am, you still have to pinch yourself every night and say you are a Manchester United player.”
“To play here is an honor that I’ll grasp in every game. I’ve started better than I thought I would.”
His football role model.
James echoed Hazard as he was figuring out if football is meant for him.
He says, “the way Hazard was at Chelsea, his movement in behind, when to go and when to stay- he is so quick. But the way he stops people and goes, and little one-twos, getting shots off quickly is something he’s done his whole career.”
“When I was younger, people said I won’t always be able to rely on speed. I just used to lick it past players and run. But nowadays, that won’t happen. Especially when people bank upon you.”
In a nutshell
The football player seems to have found his path. His experience at Old Trafford makes him say he would sign a 15-year contract at United if he could.
There is more in Daniel James and his football career. Let’s sit and watch as he maneuvers in his newly found path.