Former Manchester United star Daniel James has opened up on what went wrong during his career in recent years.
The young Welshman made the switch to Old Trafford from Swansea City a few years ago and was one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s first purchases.
James, on paper, had everything United fans would like to see in a winger- he was pacy, hard-working, and was not afraid to take his man on.
Those attributes shined the most at the start, as he dazzled supporters and left many feeling Solskjaer’s unearthed a gem for a bargain price.
The 23-year-old was in stunning form in the beginning but for one reason or the other, his performances dipped and he failed to ever recover.
According to The Telegraph, James said: “I think everyone goes through part of their career where you don’t realise something is happening until you look back and have good people around you to analyse that.
“I started thinking, ‘What does he do that I can do?’ rather than thinking just about my game and being myself. It got to the point where I was being a bit safe in games.
“I got bought for my direct play, running in behind, running with the ball, trying things and not being afraid to lose the ball but slowly I started to come away from that and play a little safe.
“When I stepped back it was remembering to be direct, to be that person. Safe is dangerous in the position I play.
“You’re not there to do that – you’re there to score goals and make assists and run yourself into the ground on and off the ball.”
It could be argued James was overplayed, leading him to burn out and consequently losing confidence when he couldn’t do the things he normally does.
It could also be argued that once teams stopped leaving space in behind for Manchester United to counter on, the versatile flank-man didn’t have the tools to still prove useful.
Solskjaer’s men suddenly found themselves tasked with breaking deep and stubborn defences and James was never really known to be a playmaker.