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Daniel James inspired by Chelsea & Arsenal legends while also looking up to Man Utd icon Giggs

8:16 AM EDT 5/11/20
Daniel James Manchester United 2019-20
The Red Devils winger grew up hoping to follow in the footsteps of a fellow Welshman, while also idolising the likes of Eden Hazard and Thierry Henry

Manchester United winger Daniel James admits to having sought inspiration from Arsenal and Chelsea legends growing up, with Thierry Henry and Eden Hazard among his idols.

The Wales international also wanted to add a number of traits possessed by a current club colleague to his own game, with Juan Mata considered a perfect role model.

United great, and fellow countryman, Ryan Giggs was another who set the standard for James as he started to take the first steps in his own career.

A route to the top has been found, with the 22-year-old now looking to follow in illustrious footsteps.

He told MUTV when asked about his childhood heroes: “There are a few players that obviously come to mind.

“I think, growing up, I always liked Juan [Mata]. It’s a weird one because, when I first signed for United, meeting him, he’s such a great guy and it was surreal for me to meet him.

“He was playing for Chelsea in those days when I was watching. Him and [Eden] Hazard together, I always looked up to them two.

“Ryan Giggs, who is obviously my manager for Wales, is always someone I look up to. Not just from the career that he had, but the way he went about it.

“He played for Manchester United for over 20 years. To play at the top level for that long, to play until you’re 39 or 40, still in the Premier League at the top level, you rarely see that in the game and there’s not many players who are going to do that ever again. To do that, he’s someone to look up to.

“I’ll say Thierry Henry too, for the things that he did. But probably Ryan Giggs most out of them all.”

James remains on a steep learning curve of his own at present, with United having moved to snap up his potential in the summer of 2019 .

A flurry of goals helped to open his Old Trafford spell in style, but a spark has rather fizzled out since then and the Welshman will be eager to rediscover his end product once a green light is given for Premier League action to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic.