Belfast Telegraph

Rodon backs James to remain grounded despite strong start in Manchester

The Wales youngster has scored three goals in his first four appearances for the Red Devils.

Daniel James upset some Manchester United fans with his goal celebration against Crystal Palace (Nigel French/PA)
Daniel James upset some Manchester United fans with his goal celebration against Crystal Palace (Nigel French/PA)

By Phil Blanche, PA

Daniel James will not get carried away after making a sensational start to his Manchester United career, according to former Swansea team-mate Joe Rodon.

James has been the shining light during United’s stuttering early-season performances, scoring three goals in four games since completing a £15million transfer from Swansea this summer.

But the young Wales winger was criticised by many United supporters after his goal celebration during the 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace.

After levelling with a brilliant last-minute curler into the top corner, James celebrated by posing with his arms crossed in front of the Stretford End.

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford cut short the celebrations by reminding James there was still time for a winner, and it was Palace who won the three points with virtually the last kick of the game.

“DJ hasn’t got a bad bone in his body,” said Rodon, who is set to line up alongside James for Wales’ crunch Euro 2020 home qualifier with Azerbaijan on Friday.

“I’ve grown up with Dan in the academy (at Swansea) and he’s a brilliant kid.

“He’s hit the ground running at United and hopefully he can continue to do it.

“It’s a massive club and for him to go there and do that is a credit to him and all of the development over the years.

“Dan’s a very talented and quick player with and without the ball, so hopefully he can be a big player for us.”

Rodon looks likely to partner Chris Mepham in central defence against Azerbaijan in Cardiff and win his first Wales cap.

The 21-year-old has been in outstanding form this season as unbeaten Swansea have set the early pace in the Sky Bet Championship.

“It’s been a great start, but obviously it’s a long season and it’s only going to get tougher for us,” Rodon said.

“But I’ve been lucky enough to hit the ground running, and the team collectively.

“We’re keeping clean sheets and hopefully we can improve game by game.

“Playing every week gives you the best chance of getting called up for your country, so that’s what I want to keep doing.”

Rodon’s season, however, has not all been plain sailing.

He removed himself from social media after receiving abuse following last month’s 3-2 home victory over Preston.

“There was a big palaver about it, but I don’t really use Twitter and I just wanted to get off it,” he said.

“You know you’re going to get abuse and you’ve got to take it on the chin.

“That’s football, it’s part of the job.

“If you can’t deal with criticism it’s pointless being a footballer, because you’re going to get it.”

PA

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