Daniel James has pledged to become a success at Leeds United after conceding where he went wrong with life as a Manchester United player.
The Whites finally ended a two-and-a-half-year wait to land James when they paid Manchester United £25m for the winger. He has signed a five-year deal at Elland Road and he couldn’t resist a joke about his 2019 near-miss after finally signing.
The move to Elland Road gives James a fresh start after the likes of Rio Ferdinand questioned his abilities.
James made 74 appearances in all competitions under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Solskjaer, scoring just nine goals. And while he made a bright start, he appeared to suffer from a lack of confidence under the management of the Norwegian.
Many expect James to excel at Leeds under Marcelo Bielsa, with one pundit even suggesting he could play as a No 8.
However, James knows he’s best on the wing, where his electric pace can damage the opposition.
Now the winger has admitted he can’t wait to get going at Leeds.
And in a candid interview, he admits he was perhaps guilty of not taking enough risks at Old Trafford and too often playing it safe.
“I think everyone goes through part of their career where you don’t realise something is happening until you look back and have good people around you to analyse that,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
“I started thinking, ‘What does he do that I can do?’ rather than thinking just about my game and being myself. It got to the point where I was being a bit safe in games.
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“I got bought for my direct play, running in behind, running with the ball, trying things and not being afraid to lose the ball but slowly I started to come away from that and play a little safe.
“When I stepped back it was remembering to be direct, to be that person. Safe is dangerous in the position I play.
“You’re not there to do that – you’re there to score goals and make assists and run yourself into the ground on and off the ball.”
Ferdinand lays into Daniel James
One man who won’t miss James at Old Trafford is Ferdinand, who has explained why the Wales star is not up to Red Devils’ standards.
When asked about his switch, Ferdinand said on his YouTube channel: “They’ve [Leeds] been on him for ages, they’ve wanted this boy for time.
“Listen, Dan James, I don’t think he’s Man United standard, but he’s definitely Premier League standard and the way Leeds play, he’s going to be a problem for a few teams.
“The kid in that team will be getting the ball and getting forward quick, and that suits his game.
“When you have to break down two banks of four like Man United that doesn’t suit James’ game, he likes space.
“But yeah, Leeds United for Dan James will be a fantastic move for both parties.”