Every Manchester United player pulled their weight in yesterday’s 2-0 victory over Manchester City.
It’s tough to pick out players who stood out because everyone was so good but Daniel James’ relentless work rate deserves a mention.
The 22-year-old looked shattered earlier on this season but didn’t stop running until the final whistle yesterday and United’s January business has helped him on that score.
Full speed ahead
James may have been a slightly surprising pick to partner Anthony Martial up front given the fact he hasn’t scored since August.
But his pace absolutely terrified City, especially Nicolas Otamendi and he could have found the back of the net himself with the first clear opening of the match.
As the game wore on, James was even more impressive. Funneling back to help Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right back but also finding the energy to pelt in behind and stretch the match.
Even as the ball headed towards Scott McTominay to seal the game, James had his head down sprinting to get back into a defensive position.
He was so fired up to keep City at bay and it should not be underestimated how big an effort it takes to put in that much running at that high a speed for over 90 minutes.
James making the most of a rest
It’s easy to forget it’s James’ first season in the Premier League and he looked in need of a spell out of the side earlier on this term.
He’d been overplayed and his searing pace had been worn down by tiredness because United didn’t have enough other options.
But the arrivals of Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo have handed him the opportunity to rest and for Solskjaer to pick and choose when he uses him.
The results of that were clear for all to see yesterday when James was bursting around Old Trafford on an afternoon when he summed up United’s energy and desire to do the double over their neighbours.
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