Seemingly from nowhere Daniel James has electrified the Championship this season, scoring eye-catching goals and dazzling onlookers with his blistering pace.
The 21-year-old Swansea sensation put in a Man of the Match performance against Manchester City last month in the FA Cup which swiftly gained the attention of Pep Guardiola. Now WalesOnline are reporting that City have joined a long queue of admirers that includes Tottenham, Leicester and Bournemouth.
Is he all pace and no knickers though? Here’s what those in the know think.
Graham Potter – Swansea boss
After absorbing a stunning individual strike against Stoke last week James’ manager could contain himself no longer, saying via BBC:
“If you look at the performance, if you are being honest it’s above Championship level. I have run out of superlatives to be honest. His ability to run, his desire to run, his courage and then his quality – we are just lucky to witness it.”
This high praise followed Potter’s effusive thoughts after seeing his young winger torment England’s first choice full-back at the Liberty Stadium in mid-March, via BBC.
“Against Manchester City he matches the physicality of Kyle Walker, for example, and runs away from players at that level. That’s a direct comparison against Premier League players at the very top and you can see his quality.”
Ryan Giggs – Wales manager
In what proved to be an auspicious seven days for James, he immediately followed up his name-making display in the cup with a winning goal to down Slovakia while gaining his second cap for Wales. In Ryan Giggs the left-sided wide-man couldn’t hope for a better mentor and post-game the Manchester United legend – so often taciturn – was clearly chuffed to have a mini-me in his ranks, via BBC.
“Dan has taken his club football into international football, because he’s been on fire.
“I was delighted he scored the goal, he was a constant threat and in the first half, we will have given the defenders nightmares because of his speed and his directness.”
John Hartson – ex-player and pundit
The former Celtic and West Ham targetman would have loved a team-mate like James, causing havoc, creating space and dishing up chances galore. Speaking to talkSPORT recently Hartson was only too happy to lavish further praise on a boy wonder who is seeing his estimation grow each and every game.
“Dan James has got a bright future. He scored a goal in his second cap where he was starting on the left-hand side. He has ridiculous pace and played well against Manchester City in the FA Cup. He was almost out of the door and was up at Leeds signing for £10million. I think that will treble now with the market the way it is.”
Rarely does a youngster explode onto the scene so dramatically and with his quick feet and pace to burn James is a valuable commodity. Top-flight defenders will be dreading the potential prospect of keeping up with him next term.