Micah Richards admits he was blown away by the performance of Dan James during Leeds United’s pulsating 3-3 draw with Aston Villa on Wednesday night.
United took the lead after nine minutes through James and were unfortunate not to go 2-0 when his 25-yard shot hit the bar. The game then turned on its head with Philippe Coutinho inspiring the hosts to three quick-fire goals. James pulled one back, somewhat fortuitously, just before the break. And Diego Llorente struck again to help Leeds to a share of the points.
Much has been made about James’ displays as a stand-in centre forward for Leeds.
The winger – a £25m summer signing from Manchester United – prefers to opreate out wide. But in the wake of Patrick Bamford’s ongoing injury issues, James has been forced to fill in front.
That, to be fair, has yielded mixed results. He impressed in the recent win at West Ham, but struggled to get into the game last time out against Newcastle.
But on Wednesday night at Villa Park, James produced comfortably his best 45 minutes in a Leeds shirt to date.
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Assessing his performance on Match of the Day, Richards admits to being impressed.
“He’d scored two before today and he went and scored two more today,” Richards said. “I thought his whole round game was outstanding.
“We’ve talked a lot about Dan James a lot but I’ve seen a more measured and more composed approach.”
James happy to carry on learning under Bielsa
James is a player that Marcelo Bielsa has long craved to work with – and it seems the Wales international is improving all the time under the Argentine.
Now James admits he’s revelling under the tutelage of the Leeds manager.
Speaking to BT Sport after the draw, James admits there was a “sense of disappointment” at only drawing 3-3.
He added: “I want to score more goals and get more assists. I’ve scored two today but I want to keep pushing.
“It’s not my preferred position but I’m learning all the time.”
James now has four goals and one assist in 18 Premier League appearances for Leeds.