Kevin Phillips believes the game time afforded to Daniel James this season proves he is not a key part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans at Manchester United.
James arrived as an unknown quantity from Swansea City last summer and made a scintillating start, earning the August Player of the Month award.
He made 26 Premier League starts in total for the Reds last term, eclipsing expectations under Solskjaer.
But his form dipped quite significantly after the turn of the year and he has struggled to make a real impact for the club since.
James is yet to contribute a goal for United this season and has been restricted to just four starts in all competitions.
The Welsh winger has performed well on international duty but Solskjaer has overlooked him in preference of Juan Mata on the right-flank in recent weeks.
James’ new sporadic role has led to inevitable speculation around his future and Football Insider have reported that Everton are monitoring the 23-year-old’s situation.
Former Premier League striker Phillips does not envisage a move to Merseyside for James, but believes he would certainly make a sensible acquisition for Carlo Ancelotti’s squad.
“When he went to United last season he was buzzing and full of life but he hit a brick wall,” he told Football Insider.
“He has fallen away a bit but he is a young lad. He is going to have tough periods.
“I would like to see him stay and fight for his place at Manchester United but his involvement this season suggests to me that he is not really a big part of Solskjaer’s plans.
“It will have been a disappointing start to the season for him but I cannot see Manchester United allowing him to leave for Everton.
“But it would be a sensible move by Everton to sign James as backup for Richarlison.”
As Phillips notes, it would be very surprising to see United sanction a move for one of their young talents midway through the season, particularly to a Premier League rival.
James could return to the fold for United against Istanbul Basaksehir as Champions League football returns to Old Trafford on Tuesday evening.