It is no secret that Daniel James has struggled since his blistering start to life at Manchester United. In fact, since scoring three goals in his first four games, the Welshman has gone on to net just once in his last 2,887 minutes of domestic football.
Despite his shockingly poor goalscoring record, United can still take many positives when looking at the 23-year-old, namely the fact that the attributes in which he lacks are ones that improve with time and experience. The Red Devils can certainly still get a lot out of James, but it will require patience to see everything that the former Swansea player can bring to the table.
How Daniel James Can Reach His Full Potential at Manchester United
James’ speed is the strongest part of his game. He is one of the fastest players not only at Old Trafford, but in the Premier League. The Welshman has run at speeds above 35 km/h since his move to Manchester, and due to both the fact that he is a winger, and that pace is largely untrainable, this greatly heightens his potential ability.
James has also demonstrated clear technical ability, notably in some fantastic top-corner goals, although other aspects of his performance such as crossing still leave much to be desired.
What holds the attacker back is poor decision making.
Many have been frustrated by James’ lack of composure when he gets into the final third. He tends to make the wrong choice, costing United many goals, and has received much criticism for it.
Even Wales manager and Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs, who recommended that the Red Devils sign James, has admitted that this is the case, saying: “The next thing for Dan is when he gets in those positions is that final decision making and execution. Once he does that… because he gets in so many good positions because of his pace.”
How to Resolve This Issue
While the 23-year-old’s bad decision making is greatly hindering him at the moment, the way to resolve this is to gain experience. James is still young and has a lot of his career ahead of him, but getting the game time he needs is absolutely vital to aiding his development.
A loan move seems like the only way he will be able to become a consistent starter, with United’s attack currently looking fantastic. If the Welsh international is able to cement a place in the starting team for another side, it would be an enormous step in the right direction, and a run of good form could see him return to the Theatre of Dreams with much more of a look-in for the first-team.
Despite this, should a loan move happen, it is unlikely to be this month. Untied lack options on the right-wing, and James provides backup there, as well as being able to play on the left side of the attack. He is a useful rotation option and has also played an important part in a few of United’s Premier League games this season too. If the Red Devils manage to sign a right-winger in the summer, though, it could provide an invaluable opportunity for Daniel James to gain senior experience on loan.