Daniel James can prove to be an “unplayable nightmare” for Premier League defenders this season, according to former Wales and Manchester United star Clayton Blackmore.
James scored within six minutes of his league debut on Sunday as United began their campaign with a convincing 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea at Old Trafford.
But it was his pace and ability to unsettle defenders even when he doesn’t have the ball that impressed Blackmore.
The former United defender gave Oli Gunnar Solskjaer’s £15m signing from Swansea City the ultimate accolade by comparing him to Ryan Giggs.
“Daniel is just devastating when he’s got the ball,” said Blackmore.
“It’s been a while since we had a Welsh lad in the team. All of a sudden we score four!
“In the first-half we were pretty similar to last season again – the same sort of shape. Chelsea hit the post a couple of times, so I’m not getting carried away at the moment.
“But when Daniel came on, that proved a big difference. He can be unplayable, like Ryan.
“Ryan was very tricky and quick, but Daniel is one of the fastest players I’ve seen. I’d not seen him live before.
“He just looked very, very fast and that’s the worst thing for a defender.
“He works very hard when he’s not got the ball. That’s going to be a nightmare for defenders because it only gives them a few seconds to get rid of the ball.
“In the last few years, we have not been pressing as high as on Sunday. Oli has got the players pressing high and that’s going to make a difference this season.”
James came off the bench to score in the 81st minute of a dream debut.
“I don’t think you could write it, really,” the former Swansea flyer said.
“As soon as I signed here, I dreamed of something like that to happen and it did today.
“To score on my debut and to win 4-0 at Old Trafford in the first game, no, I don’t think you could (imagine that).”
James was Solskjaer’s first signing as United manager and eyebrows were raised at his place on the bench rather than the starting line-up given his fine pre-season performances.
The Wales winger would eventually be introduced as a 74th-minute substitute and wasted little time making an impression on the Old Trafford faithful.
“I think it was about being calm,” he said of his competitive debut for United.
“I came on at 3-0, which obviously dampened (the nerves) a bit.
“For me, it was just going out there and enjoying it, and obviously if I get an opportunity try and take them, and thankfully I did.”
James will never forget his United bow, but the level-headed Welshman is not getting carried away with the curtain-raising triumph as Solskjaer’s side rode their luck at times against Chelsea.
“Obviously we won 4-0 today but there’s obviously stuff we can work on and it’s going to be a tough game next week at Wolves,” he said.
“I think everyone was raring to go anyway, but we can’t get carried away.
“We’ve got a big, big test at Wolves next week and obviously they’ve shown how good they were, especially against us last season, so we’ve got to be prepared for that.”