Dan James’ two year spell at Manchester United came to an end on transfer deadline day.

United sold James to Leeds for £25 million, a fee which made him United’s fourth most expensive ever sale.

United’s players have wished James well, after he played 74 matches for the club during his time at the club.

Former United winger Gordon Hill has given his thoughts on James’ spell at the club and he points to a lack of a mentor-figure in his position to help with his development.

Manchester United v Leeds United - Premier League
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Too much too soon?

When James signed for Manchester United in 2019 he arrived as the only recognised winger in the squad.

United’s options in the role were so poor that Andreas Pereira began the season on the opposite flank.

This resulted in James being over-used too early in his United career which added to the pressure and scrutiny on his performances.

As Hill points out, James also lacked a senior figure to learn from like a Ryan Giggs.

 

When Giggs was a youngster in the early 90s he had Lee Sharpe and Andrei Kanchelskis in front of him as more senior players.

United still lack a senior winger at the club but there is a real group of players who can help each other out now, in terms of development, competition for places.

Jadon Sancho, Amad, Anthony Elanga can all play the positions, while Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford are also featuring in wide roles.

The one player James really could have learned from if he stayed was Cristiano Ronaldo, who began his career at Manchester United as a winger in 2003, before developing into a striker later in his career.

Ronaldo’s arrival though made United’s battle for front three positions too congested, and with a substantial bid on the table for James, United made a business and footballing position to cash in.

It was also the fair move for James, who can utilise his United experience for his own gain at Leeds and show what he has learned, with the opportunity to play regular football.

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