Giggs makes a huge claim about United signing James
Wales manager Ryan Giggs believes Manchester United’s first signing of the summer, Daniel James, is potentially the fastest footballer he has ever laid eyes on.
The 45-year-old Old Trafford icon was a famously fleet-footed left winger in his own playing days, and racked up a record 963 appearances for the club between 1991 and 2013.
But despite that lengthy career in the game, in which he played alongside turbo-charged speedsters like Andrei Kanchelskis and Cristiano Ronaldo – and against countless rapid opponents – Giggs believes he has never encountered another player quite as swift as James.
“First of all, his best attribute is his speed,” said our former no.11. “I mean, I’ve probably not seen anyone as quick as him in my whole career. That’s a big shout, because obviously I’ve played [with] and played against quick players.
“He can play a number of positions – anywhere across the front three, really – and, this year, he’s played quite a bit for Swansea up front, which he’s not done a lot of in the past, but he’s looked comfortable.
“He’s a nightmare for defenders. He’s not that big, so it’s hard to get your arm across him. He’s both-footed, can score goals, create goals.”
Giggs granted James his international debut in November 2018 and, in March, watched on as the youngster earned Wales a 1-0 victory over Slovakia in his first competitive start, when he fired home after just five minutes. The youngster also started both recent European Championship qualifiers against Croatia and Hungary.
The legendary winger is full of praise for the 21-year-old’s attacking capabilities, but also keen to highlight his mental toughness.
“He’s got a really good temperament as well,” Giggs explains. “He went through a tough stage where he went out on loan [to Shrewsbury], and it didn’t quite work out. He came back, did really well for Swansea and then, it was well documented, at the turn of the year, his move to Leeds fell through.
“Then, after that, really, he’s just been on fire. So it just shows the strength of character that he has got, because I know that he was close to moving. He didn’t let it get to him; he just concentrated, knuckled down, did really well for me [for Wales] against Slovakia, obviously scored the winning goal, and he’s just got better and better all season. He’s still young, still learning the game, but he’s a speed merchant and I’m sure he’ll be a nightmare for defenders on that big Old Trafford pitch.”
James is one of several exciting, young Welsh talents available to Giggs, with Bournemouth’s David Brooks and Liverpool’s Harry Wilson, who was on loan at Derby County last term, also enjoying fine seasons in 2018/19, and the 13-time Premier League winner feels he is putting together a promising Wales squad which boasts a blend of experience and youth.
“I’ve got experienced players and I’ve got young players coming through, and Dan is one of them,” he continues.
“What I want is competition for places. Everyone always says you want two players for every position, and I’m nearly getting there in that department. But especially [in the] front areas, wide areas, I’ve got plenty of choice, and even Dan may find it hard to get in the starting line-up!
“It just shows the quality that I have got. I’m lucky in that respect, that I’ve got a lot of young players at my disposal.”