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Champions League

Man Utd starlet Dan James reveals how Solskjaer talks helped him earn first-team reprieve

DAN JAMES has opened up on the heart-to-heart with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that revived his career.

The Wales star, 23, continued his red-hot form with the winner over Czech Republic in Tuesday’s vital World Cup qualifier.

Dan James has revealed the talk with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that's inspired his fine form


Dan James has revealed the talk with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that’s inspired his fine formCredit: Getty
Solskjaer gave James the confidence he needed to become an important fixture for club and country


Solskjaer gave James the confidence he needed to become an important fixture for club and countryCredit: Getty

James has also been flying for Manchester United and is a first-team regular, starting eight of the last ten games under boss Solskjaer.

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But the wideman admits the upturn in his career only came after he knocked on Ole’s door in November.

James, who moved from Swansea in June 2019 in a deal worth up to £18million, said: “I wasn’t playing much and I thought, ‘Do I accept this and just be in the background?’.

“I wanted to be at United — I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

“I spoke to the gaffer  before the Istanbul Champions League game and told him I was ready to play.

“He said, ‘I can see the way you’re training — and you look back to being you again’.

“Sometimes it’s hard to go to the gaffer. I speak to him every day but going to see him one-to-one, being confident and saying I’m ready to play means you have to go out of your comfort zone.

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“Coming out of that meeting,  I think he loved I did that. He played me, I came on and scored.”

Ahead of Sunday’s Old Trafford clash with Brighton, he told the UTD Podcast: “Being a winger, you want to get the fans off their seats.

“I looked back at clips, I’d have a good game and kept the ball   but I was just being safe.

“I looked at old Swansea clips and when I first signed for United — and when I got the ball, I’d run at the defender. It was a reality check.”

James scored the first header of his career in Wales’ victory over the Czechs and is excited about Euro 2020 where they face Switzerland, Turkey and Italy this summer.

And he believes his team-mates can repeat the heroics of Chris Coleman’s class of 2016, who reached the semi-finals.

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James added: “Why not? I watched the last Euros on holiday in Marbella and it was unbelievable.

“We have nothing to lose. We have shown we can compete against the best teams and we just have to keep performing.”

James has also backed caretaker boss Robert Page to lead Wales at the finals – if Ryan Giggs remains on special leave.

Giggs’ managerial future is still uncertain as he is on bail until May 1 following his arrest last November on suspicion of assault, an allegation he denies.

When asked if Page, who has lost just one of his six matches in temporary charge, is the right man for the Euros if Giggs remains absent, James said: “Yes, definitely. He’s been unbelievable.

“Whether he’s the manager or not, he’s been such a big part of before when the gaffer has been here. But he’s taken on the role so well.”

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