Daniel James labelled a former Manchester United teammate as “unbelievable”, and made a pair of claims about Leeds United and Raphinha that the club’s fans will love to hear.
The Welsh winger, 24, commanded a £25m fee when moving from Old Trafford to Elland Road this summer. It was the second time Leeds had attempted to land James after famously coming close to landing the then-Swansea flyer in the 2019 winter window.
Marcelo Bielsa snagged his man at the second time of asking, and in an interview with FIFA, James made a pair of claims about his new club that will go down well.
Firstly, however, James was asked about his spell at United. When the subject of which Red Devil impressed him the most was raised, James had two names in mind.
“I could name so many who impressed me as players and professionals,” said James. “The two who most come to mind are Bruno [Fernandes] and Marcus [Rashford].
“The way Bruno came from Portugal and settled straight in at United… the assists, the goals. I think in his first season he beat the most goals and assists contributions in a season for a midfielder. Unbelievable. He takes that pressure on and he works so hard.
“The other one is Marcus. He’s an absolutely unbelievable player. To put in the performances he has, when he’s been carrying injuries as well… just full respect to him.
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“He takes the pressure on, he always performs. And it’s not just on the pitch where he impresses me but off the pitch too. He fully deserved his MBE.”
The attention then shifted to Leeds, where James spoke about current talisman Raphinha.
James on Raphinha; makes future claim
Raphinha is in the form of his life at present and tops Leeds’ scoring charts with five strikes this season. Those goals have kept Leeds’ heads above water, with many of their other attacking options struggling for form and rhythm.
Raphinha’s prowess has been recognised at international level where he has already made a big impact with Brazil. His first three appearances produced two goals and two assists to go along with earning a penalty too.
When asked how good Raphinha is now he sees him up close and personal, James said: “He’s a magician.
“He’s always been a great player – I played against him at United and he was always great – but he’s improved so much.
“He fully deserved his Brazilian call-up and I think since he got it, he’s pushed on even more, he’s even more confident. He can do absolutely anything on the pitch. It’s great playing with him.”
James has failed to hit the ground running since transferring to Leeds. Nonetheless, he is fully aware he is not the finished article. He then hinted the theory that he’ll quickly improve when given regular minutes will come true.
“I’ve not reached my potential yet,” he admitted.
“I’m getting a lot more game time now and I’ve obviously got my own goals. I’ve got so much more I can improve on, so much more to give. Hopefully I’ll show that in the coming years.”