Daniel James has spoken about the players that inspired him most while growing up, including Wales manager Ryan Giggs and current Manchester United teammate Juan Mata.
James arrived at Old Trafford from Championship Swansea last summer for around £15m plus add-ons, a signing that was seen as a risky bit of business from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the time. However, the 22-year-old has flourished at United, providing a combined 11 goals and assists in all competitions this season prior to the break.
The tricky winger has impressed with his pace and work ethic in the Premier League this term, and has opened up about which footballers inspired him during his rise to the top.
Speaking to MUTV, the Welshman listed off a number of world-class players that motivated him over the years, including the likes of Eden Hazard and Thierry Henry.
"There are a few players that obviously come to mind," said the Manchester United man. "I think, growing up, I always liked Juan [Mata]. It’s a weird one because, when I first signed for United, meeting him, he’s such a great guy and it was surreal for me to meet him.
"He was playing for Chelsea in those days when I was watching. Him and [Eden] Hazard together, I always looked up to them two."
James added: "Ryan Giggs, who is obviously my manager for Wales, is always someone I look up to. Not just from the career that he had, but the way he went about it.
"He played for Manchester United for over 20 years. To play at the top level for that long, to play until you’re 39 or 40, still in the Premier League at the top level, you rarely see that in the game and there’s not many players who are going to do that ever again. To do that, he’s someone to look up to.
"I’ll say Thierry Henry too, for the things that he did. But probably Ryan Giggs most out of them all."
With Premier League football potentially edging closer to a return, James will be eager to recapture his early season form when games get back underway, while also hoping he can help United secure Champions League football for next season.
The Red Devils currently sit three points behind Chelsea in fourth, but could guarantee Champions League football next campaign with a fifth-placed finish due to Manchester City's potential European ban.
Source : 90min