This weekend, Manchester United’s Dan James heads to a stadium where he has good memories. After all, St Mary’s is the last place the winger scored a league goal.
That strike, back in August 2019, was James’ third goal since arriving in an £18million deal (BBC).
Back then, the Welshman could not stop scoring, with his debut strike against Chelsea followed by two more in his first three starts.
United looked to have played a blinder signing James for a bargain fee. After all, his long-range effort against the Saints was the mark of a player at the peak of his confidence.
Unfortunately, for James and for United, that was his last league goal. Now, 15 months on, the 23-year-old will be hoping for another moment of magic.
After a tough first season at United overall, with three goals and six assists in 33 Premier League outings, James is showing glimpses of his best once more.
In midweek, the winger rounded off the scoring in United’s 4-1 Champions League win and he has also looked great for his country.
While James is unlikely to start on Saturday, he could yet play a part from the bench, just as he did on Wednesday evening.
A super-sub role may beckon
James has pace to burn but he has not always used it effectively. There are few – if any – faster players in the top flight and he could operate very effectively in front of Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek.
One late goal against the weakest side in their Champions League group is not going to turn James into a regular United starter again. But he can use it to build on.
It is bizarre, when you consider how well James started at United, that he has gone 15 months without a league goal.
Now, against a tough Saints side at the ground where he last struck, he will be hoping to make his mark once again.