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The rise of Daniel James; from Swansea City rookie to fittest player at Manchester United – his road to success starts here

When Daniel James was first linked to Manchester United, the generic responses from so-called supporters of the club were ones of disbelief that United was interested in a player who had not yet made it in the game. Some did not seem to put two and two together and work out the main reason in targeting players such as James.

A few years ago, when players who were largely unheard of were targeted by the club, there was excitement of the unknown. Now, supporters of the club seem to be spoilt and expect the club to bring in superstar after superstar because that is the only way to bring success. However, it has been proven that talented young players can work out.

The signing of the 21-year-old took some time after the player lost his father around the time the speculation of him being linked to United was rife, so understandably, things were delayed, picked up a few weeks later, then progressed to the stage that United confirmed a deal had been struck which was confirmed days later.

United made a big deal in the signing of the player like they knew the type of player they had signed and what he could accomplish in the years to come. James even played a part in Wales’ UEFA European Championships qualifiers last month, which would have attracted more attention knowing a new United player was involved.

James is quick on his feet and can cross a ball, even score a banger, which is something that will go down well if he achieves the same feats for United, starting this coming season. Personally, I am excited to see what the player has to offer during pre-season, with the first match only in a few days with United facing Perth Glory on Saturday.

Over the past week or so, in pre-season training, James has shown his level of fitness, presumably after getting a head start by training in Dubai this summer. In the past few days, it was revealed that the 21-year-old was the fittest player on the pre-season tour, which will have got him noticed by the coaches and more importantly, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The £15 million signing will become a massive bargain if he makes it at the club seems to be happy and ready to prove a point. Last season, there was not much hunger by the squad, especially towards the end when the team was just coasting through matches. Bringing in the type of players who want to be successful, achieve things, is a great move.

Back in the mid to late 1990s, Sir Alex Ferguson decided to make changes himself, building a team based on the traditions of the club, promoting youth. The class of 1992 came through at that time which had already seen Ryan Giggs run riot in the squad but the addition of Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, and later, Phil Neville things started to fall into place.

The “you can’t win anything with kids” quote from Alan Hansen was the most memorable things from that time as the United team with these players in the core achieved so much and proved Hansen wrong. Solskjaer will be aiming to do something similar, starting this coming season. It may take time but what you have to wait for is worth more.

With James setting an early example this pre-season, it might make some of the players who failed to achieve last season react, bring their fitness up to the same level and work on finding a way forward for this prestigious club. One player cannot make all of the difference but in showing some players up, that sort of thing can show some truths.

Obviously, it will be a long road ahead, which will have some good moments and some bad moments. That is all part and parcel of the game. United is a club entering another new era, another rebuilding process, a process that those high up in the club will have to back and fully get behind. If it does not work out again this time, it will cause repercussions.

The fact that James seems to have hit the ground running, in a fitness sense, is great to see. If he can help inspire his teammates, despite his age, he will be heading in the right direction at the club. Come the start of the Premier League season, we should have see just what he is capable of and could be thirsty to see the rise of this talented Welsh winger.

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