Dan James has a big opportunity to silence exit rumours tonight

The side Ole Gunnar Solskjaer names at Brighton tonight will likely look very different to the one which took to the pitch at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

Solskjaer told Manchester United’s official website that he will likely rotate again, just as he did against Luton in the previous round.

One man who wasn’t involved in that 3-0 win was Dan James, but he did play 45 minutes of the opening Premier League match of the season, against Crystal Palace.

Having not been involved against Brighton, James should get a start tonight with Marcus Rashford likely to be rested on the left wing.

That would provide a big opportunity to silence the talk of a potential loan exit in the closing days of the transfer window.

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Sky Sports report that Leeds are interested in taking the Welshman on loan, but James is determined to stay at Old Trafford and fight for his place, even if United sign a winger before the deadline.

Leeds, of course, came tantalisingly close to signing James in January 2019, when they were still in the Championship.

James was at Elland Road, ready to sign, when communication went cold from Swansea.

He stayed at the Liberty Stadium before United moved last summer, but it is fair to say he’s lost his way to an extent since his flying start to life in a red shirt.

Solskjaer told United’s website that James is a player with ‘X-Factor’, at a point when he’d only seen him up close in a number of training sessions.

James was unfairly overplayed and then overcriticised at times last season.

That led him to get burned out, as he struggled to deal with playing for the biggest club in the world every week as well as simply adjusting to life in the top flight.

A rotation role this season is more suitable, and James showing what he can do on nights like tonight would go a long way to silencing talk of a potential loan exit.

James will be looking to help knock his former Swansea boss Graeme Potter out of the EFL Cup tonight, as well as igniting his second season in red.

If he plays, impresses – and hopefully scores – tonight, Leeds should be the last thing on James’ mind.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.