April 19, 2021

Man Utd

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Manchester United winger Dan James relishing competition from £37m new boy Amad Diallo

3 min read

Manchester United winger Daniel James insists he is taking the added competition in his position from Amad Diallo as a ‘challenge’ to driving himself on to improve his game. 

Ivorian Diallo, 18, made his United debut last week in the 4-0 win at Real Sociedad following an impressive couple of games for United’s Under 23s after making a £37million move from Atalanta in January.

James has also been in fine form for the Old Trafford side, netting three goals in his last three games with strikes against Sociedad, Southampton and Newcastle.

Daniel James insists he is relishing the competition provided by new boy Amad Diallo

Daniel James insists he is relishing the competition provided by new boy Amad Diallo

Ivorian Diallo made his Manchester United debut against Real Sociedad last week

Ivorian Diallo made his Manchester United debut against Real Sociedad last week

And speaking to BT Sport ahead of United’s second leg against the Spanish side, the 23-year-old Welshman has revealed the competition for places at United is pushing him to provide selection headaches for boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

‘It’s always great for other players to come in, I don’t take it as something to be down about – I take it as a challenge,’ James said.

‘There’s always going to be challenging moments here because we’ve got unbelievable players in the position I play and it helps me, it drives me on.

‘I don’t take that as a bad thing, at the moment it’s about giving the manager a headache, I think that’s what he wants, to be able to have a selection of players and not make it easy for him.

James wants to use the added competition to provide selection issue for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

James wants to use the added competition to provide selection issue for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

‘I’d like to think I’ve done that from things he says every day that he’s got a [selection] headache and I’ve got to keep giving him that.’

James’ recent purple patch in goal has come despite featuring just 13 times this season, following a campaign in which he made 46 appearances.

The drop off in minutes on the field has been ‘difficult’ for James, but he believes the stature of the club he is at can still help him to improve his game. 

‘Especially after last season when I played so much it does get a bit difficult but it’s easy to stick your head in the sand and think ‘when am I going to play again?’

The 23-year-old Welshman did concede that playing less regularly this term has been difficult

The 23-year-old Welshman did concede that playing less regularly this term has been difficult

‘But I’m at the biggest club in the world so I can’t expect to play week in week out – I’ve got to work hard for it. I knew that coming here and I played a lot more than I thought I would last season and it was a big learning curve.

‘There’s always going to be times in life when it’s hard and you’re going to have set backs but it’s how you reflect on games and that’s what I did – ‘what am I when I’m at my best?’

‘It was about, what can I do every single day to try and get in the team and if you work hard rewards come. But I’m nowhere near where I want to be and every day I’ll keep improving.’

BT Sport is the only place to watch the UEFA Europa League live including Manchester United v Real Sociedad live on BT Sport 2 from 7:15pm tonight. Visit btsport.com for more info.

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