Swansea manager Graham Potter hailed Dan James’ performance as the best he has ever seen and declared him “above the Championship” as he starred in a 3-1 win over nine-man Stoke.
In front of his watching Wales manager Ryan Giggs who was in the Liberty Stadium stands, James tore Stoke to pieces with yet another fine individual display.
The 21-year-old winger opened the scoring with a curling 25-yard effort and his dangerous running led to sendings off for Stoke duo Bruno Martins Indi and Tom Edwards.
Mike Van der Hoorn and Oli McBurnie completed the home scoring with James McClean responding for Stoke at the end of the first half.
“I have run out of superlatives on Dan. We were just lucky to witness it,” Potter said.
“It was as good an individual performance as I have witnessed. He was so, so good.
“If you are being honest that level of performance is above the Championship. He works hard for the team. Dan will be the first to say he needs the team to help him get the ball and the structure to express himself, but he has got quality to top it all off.
“Ryan knows what it’s like to play as a wide man and I’m sure he’ll be delighted.”
James came close to joining Leeds in January but Premier League clubs will surely soon be circling on the winger such has been the quality of his performances in 2019.
Swansea are now seven points off the Championship play-off spots and have a favourable run-in.
“The collective effort was incredible and there were some high-quality performances. The first half was our best half of the season so far,” Potter added.
“We do not think about the play-offs. We just focus on the next match, but we are confident and we believe we can beat anybody. Clearly, we need points to be able to get into the play-offs so we will see what happens.”
James led the Stoke defence a merry dance throughout and he cut inside on his right foot before curling an effort in off the post.
He was then fouled for the first time by Edwards and from the resulting free-kick, Van der Hoorn fired home. McClean made it 2-1 with a drive from 30 yards.
After the break, Martins Indi received a straight red card for hacking down James and being judged as the last man. Edwards was the next to receive his marching orders for yet another foul on James.
McBurnie made the game safe by heading home Barrie McKay’s cross late on.
“It was a difficult night. Let’s give Swansea credit – I thought they were excellent in the first half. We struggled to contain them and the sendings off killed us,” said Swansea manager Nathan Jones.
“A lot of people have struggled to contain James. He’s in good form and if he continues in that vein he’ll be a top player.”
Jones took issue with the decision of referee James Linington to send off Martins Indi.
He added: “The second one is a booking and I can’t complain, but the first one is 100 per cent not a red card.
“It has to be an obvious goalscoring opportunity and it was far from it.
“I’ve looked at it on the video. James has gone round the last defender, but he still has a hell of a lot to do.”