December 8, 2021

James challenged to ‘step up’ with no Sancho at Man Utd as Giggs sees positives for Wales winger

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The Red Devils legend believes a lack of reinforcements on the flanks at Old Trafford can work in favour of one of his international stars

Ryan Giggs is looking for Daniel James to “step up” at Manchester United now that he no longer has the threat of added competition from Jadon Sancho hanging over his head.

For much of the summer transfer window it appeared as though the Red Devils would be adding to their stock of attacking wide men.

England international Sancho was identified as a top target, but those at Old Trafford were unable to put a deal with Borussia Dortmund in place.

Inability to reach an agreement there has helped to keep James in his current surroundings, with reports of loan interest fended off as deadline day approached.

The 22-year-old now has the chance to prove his worth all over again under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with Wales boss and United legend Giggs confident the jet-heeled youngster can prosper.

He said when challenging James to deliver for club and country: “Another winger coming in would mean maybe less games. That’s up to DJ to step up when he does get the chance.”

James impressed for Wales in Nations League wins over Finland and Bulgaria in September and, despite seeing only 45 minutes of club football this season, Giggs believes he can help to shoulder a weight of expectation when the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are unavailable.

He added: “DJ was excellent in both the last games. He made the goal in the first and was brilliant for us. He had not played a lot but looked sharp.

“Dan has friends here. He always enjoys coming away, the training, the atmosphere, playing for the country.

“If Gareth and Aaron are here or not, he’s still a threat. He has got speed that always keeps the opposition interested.

“He has that directness as he showed in our last games. If he has not been playing it gives him the opportunity to get minutes.

“No matter what team goes to Wembley and wins it’s a huge achievement.

“I have happy memories at both the old and new Wembley. Hopefully there’s another coming.”

Wales are set to take in a friendly date with England on Thursday, with James in contention after missing United’s 6-1 defeat to Tottenham through illness.

Giggs said: “He had a bit of a bug. He played against Brighton in midweek, felt something before the game and afterwards it wiped him out.

“He also had a knock on his foot so we are monitoring that. There are a couple of players in the same boat.

“We are giving them as much time as we can then deciding on the team.”