Ryan Giggs hailed “amazing” Daniel James after the young winger continued his impressive campaign with a match-winning strike in the 1-0 victory against Belarus.
James cut inside from the left and curled the ball away from Maksim Plotnikov for the only goal of the game 17 minutes into Monday’s friendly at the Cardiff City Stadium.
He has now scored twice in six senior appearances for Wales and has hit the ground running at new club Manchester United, the 21-year-old finding the net three times in his first four appearances since joining in a reported £15million deal.
Giggs was tempted to rest James for the friendly in Cardiff, watched by a low crowd of just 7,666 spectators, but the ex-Swansea City ace put his name forward for selection and lit up the game with his play out wide.
“It was a difficult one with Dan whether to rest him, but he wanted to play,” Giggs said at his post-match news conference.
“When you are in form like his, players just want to play and keep scoring. He gets fans off their feet. Every time he gets the ball the fans are looking for him to do something.
“Regarding the fans, I would like to thank fans who did turn up because it’s not easy. The schools have gone back and it’s difficult to get to games. But I think they would have enjoyed it tonight and enjoyed Dan’s performance as well as the team performance.”
James has earned obvious comparisons to Giggs and has been challenged by his national boss and compatriot to maintain his fine form.
“I think early on when I saw DJ, just like any young winger, there can be that improvement with the final ball and scoring more goals and he’s doing that,” said Giggs, who spent 24 trophy-laden years in United’s senior team.
“To do what he’s done at the start of the season is amazing. The next step is showing that consistency and he needs to carry it on, but I’ve got no doubts that will happen because he wants to be the best.
“He’s a great character and a great trainer. He wanted to play tonight. I’m really pleased for him. He’s one of those players where you know what he’s going to do but you can’t stop it.”
James also played the full 90 minutes of Friday’s 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win against Azerbaijan and will now head back to his club side ahead of the Premier League clash with Leicester City.
“I’m loving football at the minute,” James told Sky Sports. “The season’s started well for me and I’ve got to continue doing it.
“I’ve got the right people around me – the gaffer is here and great at United, too – and it’s about continuing that.”
He added: “I know it was only a friendly but we played some great football and we should have gone two or three-nil up. We’ve got to score more goals in our next camp.”
Wales return to qualifying action on October 10 with a trip to Slovakia and take on Croatia in Cardiff three days later.