I fear for Daniel James. I may well need to eat my words one day (as I have many times in the past) but I feel that he’s got a number of hurdles to jump right now in order to ‘make it’ at the top.
Firstly, and I touched on this last issue with Wilfried Bony, but the tragic death of his Dad can’t be underestimated. We forget that these footballers are people and this is going to effect James in the same way as it effects everyone else.
The timing of his fathers death coinciding with his move to Manchester, new people, teammates etc… is massive, really massive and it will make the move much harder.
Asides from that, the type of player that Dan James is means that he needs a strong and brave manager in a secure job, which I don’t think he has at United.
I love Pochettino at Spurs. He’s the bravest manager in the league for me and would be a great fit for the Welsh winger but I can’t see when and where James will get the right game-time for him to be a success at United. Dan James is lightning fast and given the space to run into, will easily and frequently get into dangerous positions and create goals but he needs to be played when there is space available! Will Dan James start for United?
I very much doubt it and so he will be starting on the bench and this is where the importance of a brave manager comes into play.
Pochettino will regularly bring on a fast winger (usually Moura) when the side are winning by the odd goal in the closing stages.
With a one goal lead with ten minutes to go, Liverpool, City, United, Chelsea and pretty much all clubs make a defensive change, extra defender etc.. And so Dan James will be coming on in the opposite games, the ones where United are losing by the odd goal and he will struggle.
Pochettino knows (As we all do) that when a side is one goal down with ten minutes to play then they push forward to grab an equaliser which leaves acres of space for the quicker player to exploit. When you face a side that is protecting a lead with ten minutes to go then they bring on the extra defender and drop really deep and so there is no space to exploit.
There is no point in bringing Daniel James off the bench when you need a goal and so he needs to play somehwere where his game time will come when the opposition are looking to attack and not defend.
He would have been brilliant at one of the lesser clubs facing a top team from the start for example. If Bournemouth started Daniel James away to Manchester United then you can imagine James getting the space on the break which plays to his strengths but the other way around?
He’s a decent player but he’s not blessed with an incredible end product and is far from the finished article. I wish him the absolute best, but I fear that he’s going to end up with 8 or 9 league games off the bench next season facing compact, deep defenders with unsympathetic fans on his case for not hitting the ground running…………… but I may well eat my words…………