Dan James made his first start for Manchester United on Monday evening in the 1-1 draw with Wolves.
It was a bold tactical choice from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, deciding to attack Wolves, rather than put a defensive player like Nemanja Matic.
James was unfortunate to be booked for diving in the first half. This riled up the home crowd.
There may be a few instances like these this season. James’ pace means the slightest touch can bring him down, and sometimes he may anticipate a hefty challenge coming in before it does.
What was good to see was his willingness to work for the team.
There was an instance in the first half where Aaron Wan-Bissaka lost his balance, was caught out of position, and James turned on the burners to win the ball back.
From an attacking perspective, James can improve. He had one shot, off target, and failed to create any chances.
The big drawback was his six crosses all failing to find a teammate.
Improvement will come. He scored on his debut against Chelsea as a substitute, and to have one goal through two games is above expectation for James at this point.
Former United prospect Daniel Nardiello defended James after seeing some criticism of him on social media.
United fans can be kneejerk in terms of reaction, but its not really fair to be so over James.
This wasn’t just his first competitive United start, this was James’ first Premier League start.
Coming in a tricky away game against Wolves, it was always going to be tough. He didn’t look out of place and made a good contribution.
Lets not forget he was lining up opposite Wolves’ left-back Jonny Otto, who was picked to start for Spain last year.
James did look to be tiring late on, and it may have been wise to have taken him off on 70 minutes rather than 89, and give Mason Greenwood more time.
James’ work rate was one of the key parts of his performance. He looked comfortable in United’s team and made a valuable contribution in holding the home side to a draw.
The winger won more fouls than any United player, being brought down on six occasions.
His speed clearly worried Wolves, and the fact he got into good positions to cross the ball is encouraging, even if his final ball disappointed.
This is just the start for James, he is going to improve, and when he does, he could be scary.
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