Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Manchester United winger James readying himself for makeshift striker role

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 5 Oct 2019

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Daniel James is willing to continue at centre-forward if again asked to perform the role for a misfiring Manchester United.

Though naturally a winger, Wales international James led the line as United settled for a stalemate in their Europa League trip to AZ on Thursday.

The experiment lasted just over an hour until Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced him with Marcus Rashford.

United have now failed to score more than once in any of their nine games since hitting four against Chelsea on the Premier League’s opening weekend.

Forcing the diminutive James to play as a striker in midweek put further scrutiny on the club’s failure to replace Romelu Lukaku but the nimble 21-year-old insisted the job was not beyond him.

“I played more on the left at Swansea but up front and on the right too,” James told the United website.

“It’s important to be versatile in all three positions because you never know when you need to be called upon.

“We might have an injured number nine and I might need to go to play up there, so I need to be ready to play in all three roles.

“I do enjoy coming inside from the left. I can go down the line and cross with my left or go inside, but for now I think it’s just about sometimes scoring a few by coming inside. [That] means people are going to be wary of that.

“So it’s about mixing my game up.”

An out-of-sorts Rashford is expected to return to the point of attack when United – who have been linked to Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson – travel to St James’ Park to meet Newcastle United on Sunday.

It will be the fifth match in a fortnight for Solskjaer’s men and potentially a third start in less than seven days for James.

He said: “That’s something when I was coming through at 17 and 18 that I struggled with really, playing every week and sometimes playing three times a week.

“That tolerance is something I’ve built up and it’s so important.

“I mean, you’ve got to get yourself right, eat right and do the right things to be ready for the next game.”

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