Daniel James’ late father is helping to drive him to success at Manchester United.
The Wales international became Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first signing at the Old Trafford helm when arriving from Swansea last month. But James’ dream move to United came at a difficult time as his father Kevan died just weeks earlier at the age of 60.
“Every day, I miss him,” James said. “He always drove me on when he was here and I know he is looking down on me now, still driving me on.
“There are times when I am a bit down about it but what he would say is just keep playing and working hard.
“I am living with my girlfriend in Manchester, which is nice. The support I have had from the club and everyone around it has been amazing.”
James has impressed in what must be a whirlwind period for the 21-year-old, who only made his professional debut for Swansea in February 2018.
“It is a boyhood dream to play for Manchester United,” he said. “To come here is a bit surreal.
“You see the number of fans out there and how far some of them have travelled to see. It is going to take a bit of getting used to.”
James’ adaptation during pre-season has been impressive. Named man-of-the-match for his performance in the 2-0 win against Perth Glory, the Welsh flyer also showed signs of promise in the 4-0 victory against Leeds – who he nearly joined at the start of the year – and then in the defeat of Inter Milan.
“It was good,” he said after Mason Greenwood sealed a 1-0 triumph against Inter at Singapore’s National Stadium on Saturday.
“We played a great team and dominated a lot of the game. We showed what we have been working on over the next 10 to 14 days, the high press and win the ball back as fast as we can.
“It is pleasing but there are three more games to the start of the season. The players who came on did very well, as you saw with Mason today. We need to keep playing and working hard as a team.”