Dan James was one of the players substituted early last night for United in the win over Wolves.
It was a game which could have gone so differently for him had he scored an early chance when put through on goal.
James has not scored for United since August and his touch deserted him last night. He had another attempt after half-time which went just wide.
If ever a player needs a goal, it’s James. He is lacking a spark at the moment and his assists have dried up too.
The positives last night was that he was getting into positions to score and threaten. That was more than he has done recently.
He was playing back on the left with Marcus Rashford rested from the start, and his defensive work in tracking back was useful to help contain Wolves’ threat.
But his form is becoming a worry and some are questioning his quality too.
What did we expect heading into the season?
It is wrong to be harsh on James or decry him as not up to standard. He has just been rushed into a role too prominent for him at this stage.
James is ready for United’s first team, he showed that at the start of the season. But he wasn’t ready to start this many games.
He has 24 start for United this season and will be closer to 40 by time the season is out.
This highlights the lack of other credible options for United on the wing, and the club should be addressing this in the transfer window – and would be if they were not repairing the mistake not to sign a midfielder in the summer.
James just needs a bit of balance in his usage. He’s been overplayed at an early stage of his development, and the quality of his performances is thinning out as a result.
There’s no easy option in sight unless United add a new winger this month, so James will just have to play through it. A goal could quickly spark him back into life, and it so nearly came last night.
Right now he needs a bit of support and positivity.
There was a lot of unfair just straight-up criticism of James’ ability.
We have collated some of the more level-headed responses to his performance…
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