Ryan Giggs says Daniel James is "frustrated" over a lack of regular minutes at Manchester United, but thinks it's unlikely he will be granted a loan move this month.
James completed a dream move to United in the summer of 2019 after rising through the ranks at Swansea City.
The Red Devils invested £15 million ($21m) in the winger's talents and handed him a five-year contract, but some questions were raised over whether he would be able to make the step up from the Championship to one of the world's biggest clubs.
He silenced those doubters initially, scoring three goals in his first four outings for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, including a stunning debut strike against Chelsea.
However, James gradually fell down the pecking order over the course of the 2019-20 campaign due to the emergence of Mason Greenwood, who nailed down a spot in the front three alongside Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
Edinson Cavani's arrival at Old Trafford on a free transfer in October increased competition for places in attack even further, leading to speculation over the Welshman's future.
James has only appeared in 10 games for United so far this season, and it has been reported that he could be loaned out before the January transfer window closes amid interest from Leeds United.
However, Giggs, who won 13 Premier League titles with the Red Devils as a player, doesn't think Solskjaer will sanction the 23-year-old's departure amid a congested fixture schedule, and has urged him to knuckle down and prove he deserves a place in the starting XI instead of becoming downbeat about his situation.
“We are in unknown territory,” the Wales manager told Stadium Astro. “Where you don’t have a lot of time. A lot of games squeezed into a short space of time.
“So, I think Ole would take the safe option and keep as many quality players in the club as he can.
“Yes, it would be frustrating. I know that Dan is frustrated. Just like any other player who isn’t getting regular football.
"But when you are at a big club like United, when you get the chance, take it.”
James will be available for selection again when United welcome Sheffield United to Old Trafford on Wednesday night, when they will be expected to pick up three points in order to return to the top of the Premier League.