Manchester United role surprised Daniel James

Daniel James has said his key role at Manchester United this season has come as a surprise.

The £15 million summer signing was battling to get into the Swansea team in the Championship this time last year but has established himself as a central figure for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in just a matter of months at Old Trafford.

- ESPN Premier League fantasy: Sign up now!
- VAR in the Premier League: Ultimate guide
- When does the transfer window reopen?
- Premier League winter break: All you need to know

"Coming in was always going to be tough and it was going to be different from playing in the Championship," James, who has scored three goals in 16 games so far this season, said.

"I think I've taken it in my stride, tried to calm myself down a bit and think 'I'm here for a reason.'

"At the start of the season, I maybe didn't think I would play as much. Every game I've been learning and the gaffer has trusted me and I've really enjoyed it."

After a rocky start to the season, United have won five of their last six games in all competitions, including an impressive 3-1 win over Brighton at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The upturn in form has coincided with Anthony Martial's return from a thigh injury and James said having the Frenchman back has given the squad a boost.

"Since he's come back in we've got that focal point," the Wales winger said. "He's a great link up player. He can come short or go in behind. It's been important for me and for Marcus since he's come back into the team to get that interlink. Since he's come back he's got goals and he's got assists and he's been great for us."

James, who turned 22 on Sunday, will spend the international break with Wales before returning to Carrington ahead of the trip to Sheffield United on Nov. 24.

Up to seventh in the table and through to the Europa League knockout rounds, the mood around Old Trafford is much improved than it was after going six games without a win before the October internationals and James is keen to push on.

"It was important to get three points going into the international break and move up the table," he said.

"When we get back we've got a tough opposition against Sheffield United. The boys that aren't going away on internationals can have a break now and then we've got a nice build up next week to go there and really perform."