Unfortunately the only people connected with Manchester United who did not believe a midfielder or striker were needed this summer were the men in charge.

Ed Woodward has to take the blame, and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is complicit too for not being more forceful and simply accepting the decision.

The one attacking player who United did sign was Dan James, from Swansea.

This was a smart signing, the type of low risk punt at £15 million which United have skipped making over the past few seasons, preferring ready made superstars instead.

Sadly a combination of James’ fast start and United’s bad decision making have piled the pressure on the Wales international.

(Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

In a tough spot

James was never supposed to be United’s marquee attacking signing.

He should have been a ‘bonus’ addition, a potential star to add to an array of attacking incomings.

Instead he has been left to carry the weight of United’s attack on his young shoulders.

James’ start at United was fantastic. He scored three times in his first four games and showed exactly why United signed him.

 

Since then, it has been more difficult. James did not score or assist between the last two international breaks and he is looking tired and short on ideas.

That isn’t a criticism of the 21-year-old, who is giving everything he can. But its a huge step up for him.

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

James should be coming off the bench for a winning team and developing his game in a joyful environment, just like he did against Chelsea in the opener.

Now he is being asked to carry the hopes of a fallen giant, and it might be too much for him. It has seemed so in the last couple of games at Alkmaar and Newcastle.

Including the Arsenal game he started three matches in seven days, and now he heads off on international duty.

This could make him. If James can come through this, learn on the job and improve, the situation could fast track his development.

It could just as easily go the other way, see him burn out, pick up an injury, and lose confidence.

The way United have thrust him into the spotlight in such an extreme way could even be described as negligent.

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