Lauren James showed she is still the future of Man Utd and England in Chelsea game
When Manchester United threatened to get a positive result in the women’s Super League lead game with Chelsea on Sunday, it was because 19-year-old Lauren James gave the team new momentum and attacking quality. from Casey Stoney in the second half.
James replaced USWNT superstar Christen Press 10 minutes after the break and his arrival in the game coincided with United, who were lagging behind at the time, taking the upper hand.
The fact that it was James who made that difference, where Press had been unable to do so, and not Leah Galton, Kirsty Hanson, Ella Toone or Jackie Groenen, is indicative of his importance to the team.
The teenager started the move from the sideline which saw United return to level 1-1, engineering space to move inside and move for the one-two, before beat a defender with control of Chelsea and use another as a screen to fold the ball into the far corner.
From start to finish, it was a goal that embodied all that is good about her – close control, dribbling, flawless technique and effortless cool.
James is by no means a new name, but his 2020 has been affected by injuries on either side of last season’s coronavirus lockdown and retirement and Sunday’s strike was his first of the season after just one handful of appearances.
As a member of the original United squad that was formed in 2018, she was 16 when she first joined the club since Arsenal and scored 17 times in all competitions that season, in road to winning the women’s championship and getting promoted to the WSL.
At the start of last season, James was making the difference as United beat Liverpool to a first-ever WSL victory and was in great shape until fitness issues curtailed an impressive top flight breakout.
Despite his age, James is United’s all-time top scorer. She had been caught by Ella Toone, herself only 21, but Chelsea’s strike on Sunday was her 27th for the club and put her back ahead.
United manager Casey Stoney lavished incredible praise on James at the end of 2019, insisting she had the talent to become the best player in the world. Stoney has worked with countless amazing players over the course of his own career in the game, but James is on another level.
“She has a talent that I have never seen in women’s football before,” remarked the United boss.
That hasn’t changed, but consistency is still key for James if she is to tap into this huge potential. She has all the tools and attributes at her disposal and needs to learn how to make the most of them more effectively to become even more effective even more often.
The improvement over the past 18 months alone is already here and continues to work under Stoney’s watchful eye, while now counting two-time World Cup winners Tobin Heath and Christen Press among the teammates with whom she s ‘train every day, will only help her even more. .
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