Bruno Fernandes has been an instant success at Manchester United. But there is one tantalising partnership that is yet to be fully utilised.
Dan James has spent much of the last few games on the bench, watching as his teammates extended their unbeaten run to 18 games.
Fernandes’s eye for a pass has helped the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood fill their boots. And that vision could ultimately help James rediscover his best form.
The £15million man (BBC) scored on his United debut and found the net three times in his first four league games.
James’ pace is terrifying and, if there is one player at Old Trafford who can capitalise on that, it is Fernandes.
The United winger has played a bit-part role in recent games, often arriving when Fernandes is taking a well-earned rest. But the match against Watford earlier this season showed what is possible.
James won the penalty from a Fernandes pass in that clash. But they have failed to link up effectively since.
That has been due to team selection rather than anything else. And, with Greenwood injured last time out, James may get a chance to impress this evening.
Even if the teenager recovers, there will be plenty of chances for Fernandes to link up with James in the years ahead.
Vision and pace
The winger is exactly the kind of player that United’s new star man looks for with those eye-of-the-needle passes.
James is only going to get better with age. His finishing his amazing, as he proved with some humdingers early in the campaign. He can also beat his man like few others in the league.
What Fernandes offers is the vision to allow James to take more risks. If he runs in behind defenders, his United teammate has the skill to find him time and again.
While Greenwood is the current beneficiary from United’s latest signing, do not discount James.
The upcoming games in the league and the FA Cup could prove that. And it will make for even more exciting viewing for United fans.
Fernandes already has eight goals and eights assists for United in just 16 appearances. If James gets his chance, and has his scoring boots on, the latter figure could rise considerably.