Dan James has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance lately at Manchester United and is set to continue in the starting XI for a while due to the absences of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani.
James has scored five goals in 18 appearances for the Red Devils this season, a goal every 206 minutes.
Mason Greenwood, on the other hand, has struggled for form of late and has only scored four goals in 36 games, at an average of a goal every 494 minutes.
Greenwood is seen by many as a future world superstar, while the majority of United fans seem to write James off as just a speed merchant.
Admittedly, at 19 Greenwood has a lot of time to improve compared to James’ 23. And it is also true that Greenwood showed last season that he is capable of achieving a much higher return. But are the two as poles apart in terms of talent as many would argue?
James was again singled out by many on social media yesterday for his poor performance. The Transfer Tavern, for example, complained ‘The former Swansea City man lost out on five of his duels and also failed to record a single shot on target, key pass or accurate cross in the match (Sofascore).
‘He also lost possession of the ball no fewer than 15 times, the joint-second most out of any MUFC player.
‘[Fans] slammed his performance on Twitter, with one supporter even going as far as to claim that the Wales international is ‘useless’.’
It is true that James lost possession 15 times yesterday. But so did Greenwood.
It is also true that James lost five of his duels, but Greenwood lost seven of his.
Greenwood, like James, failed to record a shot on target and failed to put in an accurate cross.
Greenwood did make one key pass – the one to James which he squandered – but that shot was one of two that James had (the other was blocked) – Greenwood did not record a single effort.
The younger man is clearly a fan favourite at Old Trafford and almost certainly has the potential to become a much better player than James. But on current form and performance and with a season scoring rate two and a half times better than that of Greenwood, it is curious as to why James’ position in the United squad is constantly questioned while the England man’s misdeeds are often overlooked.