Manchester United winger Daniel James is determined to prove himself at Old Trafford, following an impressive international break with Wales.
James scored three times in August alone last season and looked like a steal at just £15m, but the raw talent soon ran out of steam and his performances in the latter half of the campaign were low on confidence and impacted by fatigue.
His performance for Wales in their 3-1 UEFA Nations League win over Finland was more like the James that burst onto the scene at Old Trafford over a year ago, terrorising full-backs with his pace and firing a rocket into the top corner from over 20 yards out.
James was actually linked with an Old Trafford exit during the summer, with Leeds showing interest in the player, having previously been extremely close to signing him in January 2019. But United thought that letting him go represented failure on their part and kept hold of him.
James has now said he is determined to prove himself in Manchester and denied that turning out for Wales has been a ‘release’ this season given he hasn’t been playing much at club level.
“I wouldn't say [playing for Wales] is a release. Man Utd is my club and I love it there. Whether I am playing or not, I'm proud, as proud as I am to play for Wales,” the 23-year-old is quoted as saying by BBC Sport ahead of the return of domestic football.
“There are obviously times where I played a lot last season. I may not have played as much this season, but I am sticking in there and always in and around it.
“I feel really good at the moment. When I do play, I give my all. I bought into everything we wanted to do and thankfully I got that goal and assist [for Wales].”
James hasn’t played for United since appearing as a ‘false nine’ for just under an hour in a blunted front-line in the 0-0 draw with Chelsea last month. He has had only two minutes on the pitch in the Champions League and has been left out more games than he’s been involved.
But his performances for Wales this month could give manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer something to think about and might the catalyst a rejuvenated James needed to force his way back in.