Daniel James Dedicates Manchester United Debut Goal to Late Father

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: Daniel James of Manchester United celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 4-0 during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea FC at Old Trafford on August 11, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United youngster Daniel James has dedicated his debut goal against Chelsea on Sunday to his late father. 

The Welshman came off the bench for the Red Devils in the clash and netted the team's fourth goal in an emphatic 4-0 win over the London club. It was evident how much it meant to James, and he was clearly emotional during the celebrations.

After the match, the 21-year-old spoke about his dad, who died in May, per Alex Milne of the Daily Mirror.

"Amazing really," he said. "It would have been amazing for him to be here today, but he's not, and I dedicate that goal to him. I scored the wining penalty in Cardiff last week, which was amazing, to be in Wales as well. To score on my debut here, you couldn't write it."

The winger posted the following message on Twitter after his memorable debut:

Daniel James @Daniel_James_97

What a result! Special moment for me and my family to score on my Premier League debut at Old Trafford! No better feeling. ❤️ https://t.co/BQq8c6wiPF

Alex Shaw of ESPN commented on the emotional scenes after James found the back of the net:

Alex Shaw @AlexShawESPN

My dad died in December and he absolutely adored Man United. You could see in Daniel James’ eyes when he celebrated that it was for his dad. That was a special moment and it really resonated with me.

James was the only attacking signing made by United in the summer, and while he's not expected to be a first-team regular in his debut season at the club, he showcased tremendous promise on Sunday.

The Wales star was a constant threat on the counter-attack and showcased wonderful balance to squirm away from N'Golo Kante in one instance, resulting in a yellow card for the Chelsea midfielder.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised James following his exciting cameo:

Kris Voakes @krisvoakes

OGS on Daniel James: "The boy is exactly what you want from a professional. He's got skills and his pace but he's worked so hard. He's had a summer of ups and downs as we know, but to score on debut at the Stretford End was a very good moment for him." #MUFC

It was the gloss on a fine opening day for the Red Devils, as they punished Chelsea with some ruthless attacking in the second period.

Marcus Rashford put United ahead from the penalty spot in the first half, with the Blues rattling the woodwork either side of that goal. After the break, United tore into Chelsea on the counter, with Anthony Martial, Rashford and then James all getting on the scoresheet.

If the Red Devils continue to play in this style, then their rapid new winger should be a threat throughout the season. 

Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News commented on how quickly United were able to transition:

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

At the risk of sounding like @DAHughes_, the quickness of #mufc's goals were striking: 16 seconds between Maguire's challenge and Martial's goal. Four seconds between Pogba's pass and Rashford's goal. Nine seconds between Pogba receiving Martial's lay-off and James's goal.

Of the three major summer acquisitions made by United, the purchase of James was the most understated. However, he's been bright in pre-season and after getting off the mark for his new club, will be bursting with confidence.

The Red Devils travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers next Monday for what's likely to be a challenging second fixture. It would be a surprise if James started, but Wolves will be wary of what he can offer should he emerge from the bench late on.