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Dublin: 2°C Monday 12 April 2021

'Every young winger looks up to him' - James aspires to be like Giggs

New signing Daniel James impressed on his first appearance for Manchester United on Saturday.

Swansea City winger Daniel James
Swansea City winger Daniel James

DANIEL JAMES WANTS to emulate Manchester United great Ryan Giggs after making a good impression on his debut.

The 21-year-old became Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first United signing after arriving from Swansea City in a reported £15 million (€16.7 million) deal last month.

He appeared in a United shirt for the first time on Saturday as Solskjaer’s side beat Perth Glory 2-0 in a friendly at Optus Stadium.

It marks an incredible rise for James, who only made his senior debut for Swansea 17 months ago and has since gone on to represent Wales four times, with each of those caps coming under Giggs’ management.

And the youngster believes there is no better mentor than his esteemed compatriot as he aims to make a name for himself at Old Trafford.

“Giggsy, as soon as I came into the Wales set up, had ambitions for me,” he told reporters.

The way he brought me and a lot of other youngsters through has been amazing. He spoke to me when I first signed for United. His advice was to be myself, which is what I will try to do. 

“He wasn’t a bad player, was he? What he did at Manchester United was amazing. Every young winger looks up to a person like him.

He was playing in the Premier League until he was 40 and he was still beating players. Credit to him, the way he looks after his body.

“It is amazing for me, when I go away on internationals, to learn from people like him. He is obviously someone I aspire to be like.”

Perth Glory v Manchester United - Pre Season Friendly - Optus Stadium Daniel James made his Manchester United debut on Saturday in Australia. Source: AAP/PA Images

James made the most of his 45 minutes on the field in United’s opening pre-season friendly against Perth as he put his blistering pace to good use down both flanks.

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More than 50,000 spectators were in attendance and James is now looking forward to walking down the Old Trafford tunnel for the first time to play in front of an even bigger crowd.

“The amount of fans that have come from everywhere is surreal, really,” he said. “Playing with those players is a dream come true.

Walking out at Old Trafford is the big one. That is when it will probably sink in.

“But the amount of fans that also came to training shows the support this club has got. The amount of fans that turned up tonight from all over is just amazing.”

James is one of two signings made by Solskjaer during the close season, along with right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace.

Plenty of negativity surrounds United following their sixth-place finish in the Premier League last season, but James was never in any doubt that it is the right club for him.

“When a club like Manchester United come calling you can’t say, ’no’,” he added

“As soon as they did there was no thought in my mind not to be here.”

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