Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reportedly ready to rest Daniel James amid fears the Welsh international could suffer burnout.
James, 21, has played 18 games already this season for United and Wales – more than most of Solskjaer’s squad.
The winger was signed from Swansea City for £15m in the summer as a player for the future as Solskjaer sought to rebuild the United squad following their failure to qualify for this season’s Champions League.
It was thought James would be eased into life at United, but he has been one of the club’s form players and injuries to key players have left United relying on young players more than they would have anticipated.
It is unclear as yet whether James will be rested for United’s Europa League game at home to Partizan Belgrade on Thursday night, with qualification to the knockout stages far from assured.
But Solskjaer is keen to rest him to avoid him suffering serious injury or burnout, according to The Sun.
United are struggling in 10th place in the Premier League, having failed to win their last three league games, but are keen to avoid James being fatigued going into a busy December in which Solskjaer’s side will play nine games.
James, who scored three goals in his first four Premier League appearances, has admitted he was surprised to see so much action so early in his United career – but insists he was ”ready for it”.
He said: “I came to United maybe thinking I could be a fringe player. I wanted to try and get in the team as quick as I could but I thought it may take a bit more time.
“I got chucked in a lot earlier than I thought. But I was ready for it. I worked hard during the summer. It was about proving people wrong and showing what I can do.
“But now I have started to play I have to change that. Coming in, I set my goal to get 10 goals. I scored three in four and people said to me, ‘Are you going to change those goals now?’
“But I said, ‘I haven’t reached that yet so I’m not going to change those goals’.”