Dan James has made a huge impression at Manchester United since joining in the summer.
He is a player who gets the crowd on their feet and can change games in an instance with a driving run forward.
United have not had a winger quite like this in a long time. James might be the closest player we have had to Andrei Kanchelskis since he left Old Trafford back in 1995.
A clinical and dangerous player
Kanchelskis was a integral part of United’s double winning team in 1993/94.
He was a bargain signing from Shakhtar Donetsk in 1991 and spent four years at the club, lifting five major trophies.
He was a speedy, direct winger, who loved to run at players and dribble forward in a relentless fashion
Kanchelskis had a real eye for goal too, with a hat-trick against Manchester City a memorable moment.
United since Kanchelskis
It was a shock when he was sold to Everton in the summer of 1995, but United wanted to clear the path for an emerging David Beckham.
Despite him enjoying a good couple of seasons at Goodison, it’s hard to argue United made the wrong decision prioritising Beckham’s development.
Beckham though was a very different type of winger, and United haven’t quite had a player like Kanchelskis since.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani relied more on tricks and fancy footwork to take on players, while Memphis Depay and Wilfried Zaha were not ready for the Old Trafford stage.
Antonio Valencia was more efficient than eye-catching, while the less said about Gabriel Obertan the better.
Finally a successor
The easy comparison to make for Dan James is to his Wales international boss Ryan Giggs.
But watching his drive forward against Brighton when he picked the ball up in his own box, ran the length of the pitch before crossing to Marcus Rashfrod, it was more reminiscent of Kanchelskis.
James, like the double winner, is relentless in the way he gets his head down and motors forward and the only way opponents can stop him is to foul him.
He puts defenders on the back foot and his pace frightens opponents. The effect he has on the Old Trafford crowd is remarkable when he gets the ball, he gives the stadium and his teammates a big lift.
If he can go on to enjoy the same success with silverware that Kanchelskis did, James will have done very well indeed.
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