Dan James was outstanding when Manchester United tore Leeds apart last month.
It was a wonderful example of the winger’s ability and suggested he was ready to make up for lost time. Yet, despite starting the next league game, James has slipped back to the periphery.
The £18million signing (BBC) started his United career in exhilarating form. Three goals in his first four starts suggested the Red Devils had bagged the bargain of the decade.
Yet his form fell away shortly after and James is now very much a fringe player at Old Trafford.
This season, the 23-year-old has rarely started and yet, when he did, United scored six against Leeds and four against Newcastle.
That is an exciting return and shows just how attacking United can be when James is on the field. His pace causes constant problems and the space his runs create benefit his teammates.
Wingers often float in and out of games. Unfortunately for James, he floats in and out of seasons.
That could change as he gets more experience, and he needs to be ready whenever United call on him.
Chances must be seized
Just three minutes of action in United’s last five league games shows James has a long way to go. One great performance is never enough to stay in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s impressively-built team.
But James followed Solskjaer’s instructions to the letter when he last impressed. And his time will come again.
The league leaders take on bottom club Sheffield United this week and James could well start.
Whatever happens on Wednesday, there will be more opportunities. The trick for James is impressing as soon as he can and then building consistency.
If that happens, United may have bagged a bargain after all.
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