Joe Rodon backs Daniel James to remain grounded despite strong start at Man United

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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.”

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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Arsene Wenger hints at possibility of taking charge of national team at 2022 World Cup

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Arsene Wenger has not ruled out the possibility of taking charge of a national team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Frenchman is currently enjoying life away from the dugout having left Arsenal after 22 years at the helm in May 2018.

Wenger has been linked with a return to club management, including ahead of the new Premier League season at Newcastle following the departure of Rafael Benitez.

During his time away from the game, Wenger – who won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups as well as reaching the 2006 Champions League final – has been working as a pundit for beIN Sports.

Asked by the Doha-based broadcaster if he could see himself at the 2022 World Cup as a spectator or working for a team, Wenger said: “I could see myself working for a team.

“I will have enough time (and) distance with my last job (to give me perspective), and I would not be against that.”

Wenger also worked in France and Japan before his hugely successful spell with the Gunners.

Arsene Wenger won seven FA Cups at Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger won seven FA Cups at Arsenal.

“It will be interesting because you have some countries that have shown quality, especially Qatar who has just won the Asian Cup,” the 69-year-old continued.

“It will be interesting to see how they develop, but overall I must say I always wanted to go to the World Cup (finals) because I felt it is the job of a manager to be where the best football players in the world play football.

“Hopefully, you will see me, touch wood in Qatar in three years’ time.”

Wenger told beIN he had rejected “some nice offers” because he did not yet feel ready for a return to the game, but added: “You will see me in a dugout again, when, I don’t know exactly.”

The former Monaco coach, though, suggested he remained determined to look towards a fresh challenge.

“I enjoyed a bit to take a distance. I had a reluctance to go back into the heat again,” Wenger said.

“I still cannot live today with the fact that I will never be on the bench again. I might go for an intermediate position.

“What I want for sure is to share what I know, and what I have learnt as much as I can in the game.

“I would like to experience one more time the intensity of the competition.”

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Fantasy Premier League: Why likes of Harry Wilson and Nicolas Pepe show strong FPL value

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If goals are the currency for Fantasy Premier League managers, then shots are of interest too – so who’s taking the bulk of them for their team?

We compiled a list of the players to have taken the highest percentage of their team’s shots while on the pitch this season to find out which teams depend on one player.

These are the Premier League’s shot-hogs.

FPL shooters

[PA Graphic]

HARRY WILSON

Harry Wilson was famed for his long-range efforts with Derby in the Championship last season, and he appears to have brought his shot-heavy game to the Premier League with Bournemouth.

The Wales international has already bagged two goals for the Cherries this season including a stunning free-kick – and when the 22-year-old is on the pitch, 35.3% of Bournemouth’s shots come from the Liverpool loanee.

That’s the highest proportion for any team in the Premier League this season, and at £6.0m and just 2.9% ownership, could make Wilson a fine differential to back.

NICOLAS PEPE

Arsenal’s record signing Nicolas Pepe is trying to make his mark at the club and it shows – the winger has taken 31.4% of the Gunners’ shots during his 268 minutes on the pitch, but he has yet to score.

As a result the Ivory Coast international’s FPL price has dropped to £9.4m while his ownership is 3.6%. Pepe has managed an assist however and has only played the full 90 minutes twice, so managers might want to keep backing him for now.

One of those shots has to fly in sooner or later, right?

ROBERTO FIRMINO

While Sadio Mane was reportedly upset with Mohamed Salah for not passing to him against Burnley, it is the central member of the feared trio – Roberto Firmino – who has taken the highest percentage of shots for Liverpool while he has been on the pitch (24.6%).

The Brazilian has managed two goals and two assists so far this season and has started every game for the Reds, accumulating a handy 27 points as a result.

Salah takes 18.6% of his team’s shots while on the pitch, while Mane has 12.7%.

SERGIO AGUERO

If anything summed up Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side, it would be the equal distribution of shots among the team – Sergio Aguero has taken the highest proportion of shots while on the pitch at 19.4%, but the rest are not far behind.

Bernardo Silva (18.4%) Riyad Mahrez (16.7%) Kevin De Bruyne (15.8%) and Raheem Sterling (15.4%) make up the rest of the top five for the champions.

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