‘I still can’t believe I’m a Man Utd player!’ – Daniel James reflects on ‘mad’ journey from Swansea to Old Trafford

Daniel James Manchester United 2019-20
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The Wales international winger was snapped up by the Red Devils in the summer of 2019 having come close to linking up with Leeds a few months earlier

Daniel James admits he is still coming to terms with the fact that he is a Manchester United player, with a “surreal” few months having seen him end up at Old Trafford after previously coming close to leaving Swansea for Leeds.

In January 2019, a move to Elland Road for the Wales international winger appeared to be on the cards.

Those discussions broke down and James was forced to see out the season at the Liberty Stadium.

His potential was no longer sailing under the radar, though, and United eventually struck a £15 million ($19m) deal with the Swans.

A bright start was made to life at Old Trafford, with an early flurry of goals recorded, while there is still plenty of room for development within the game of a 22-year-old forward.

James intends to prove his worth with the Red Devils, with the youngster conceding that his meteoric rise to prominence has been something of a blur.

He told NBC Sports on United showing interest and his subsequent signing: “I can't remember the exact place I was but I know it was a time near the end of the season.

“It was only talk at the start so I didn't really believe it to be honest. I still don't believe it now!

“It was a mad time - I was enjoying my time at Swansea, we had a good end to the season and tried to push for the play-off spots but we didn't end up getting them.

“To hear that Manchester United were interested was surreal for me because it was my first year in senior football.

“The year before I'd went out on loan and not played so it was just surreal and at the first moment I didn't believe it.”

Bruno Fernandes Manchester United 2019-20

James now forms part of a star-studded squad at United, and one that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues to reinforce.

Bruno Fernandes was among those drafted in during the winter window, with the Portugal international midfielder having made an immediate impression in England.

“I think coming in, we'd researched him and knew he was a great player but also a great character on and off the pitch,” James said of the talented playmaker.

“He's 25 but we already see him as that senior player, having that character, he speaks to a lot of players about how they can improve, not to be harsh on them but to help the team improve.

“He speaks to me and other players about communication and what he likes to do.

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“He's not played with us and he's had quite a few games now, he's getting better and better which comes down to the training ground.

“He's been a great player since he's come in but it's about his character as well.”

Prior to football shutting down amid the coronavirus pandemic, Fernandes had helped Solskjaer’s side to rediscover a spark that had them in contention for a top-four finish and major silverware.