Daniel James could not have scripted a better beginning to life as a Manchester United player after coming off the bench to complete the mauling of Chelsea.
A cloud of discontent and disillusionment made way for delight at Old Trafford as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side got their Premier League campaign off to a dream start on Sunday.
Chelsea were unfortunate not to cancel out Marcus Rashford’s penalty, but Frank Lampard’s first match at the helm would end in a 4-0 defeat after a second-half collapse.
Anthony Martial and Rashford netted in quick succession, before summer signing James came off the bench to score in the 81st minute of a dream debut.
“I don’t think you could write it, really,” the former Swansea flyer said.
“As soon as I signed here, I dreamed of something like that to happen and it did today.
“To score on my debut and to win 4-0 at Old Trafford in the first game, no, I don’t think you could (imagine that).”
James was Solskjaer’s first signing as United manager and eyebrows were raised at his place on the bench rather than the starting line-up given his fine pre-season performances.
The Wales winger would eventually be introduced as a 74th-minute substitute and wasted little time making an impression on the Old Trafford faithful.
“I think it was about being calm,” he said of his competitive debut for United.
“I came on at 3-0, which obviously dampened the nerves a bit.
“For me, it was just going out there and enjoying it, and obviously if I get an opportunity try and take them, and thankfully I did.”
James will never forget his United bow, but the level-headed Welshman is not getting carried away with the curtain-raising triumph as Solskjaer’s side rode their luck at times against Chelsea.
“Obviously we won 4-0 today but there’s obviously stuff we can work on and it’s going to be a tough game next week at Wolves,” he said.
“I think everyone was raring to go anyway, but we can’t get carried away.
“We’ve got a big, big test at Wolves next week and obviously they’ve shown how good they were, especially against us last season, so we’ve got to be prepared for that.”
James highlighted the high press and ball recovery as particular positives after the match, although a first Premier League clean sheet since February was also noteworthy.
Summer signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka impressed at right-back for and Harry Maguire looked solid just days after arriving in a world-record transfer fee for a defender.
“I think that we’ve shown that all through pre-season,” James said of the defensive solidity. “We haven’t conceded many.
“Obviously that’s a big part of going forwards, keeping them clean sheets, and we did that today.”