Manchester United winger Daniel James has revealed that he could have walked away from football before he was a teenager.
James has made a flying start to his Old Trafford career after arriving from Swansea in the summer, scoring three goals in his first five appearances – and has made a big impression on Ryan Giggs with the United legend explaining the two things about his game he’s improved on the most.
However, his career could have turned out very differently, as James has revealed in an interview with the club’s magazine, Inside United.
“At the start, when I got to nearly 12 years old, I actually nearly gave up football,” explained James. “I wasn’t enjoying it.
“I was telling my mum and dad: ‘I’d rather be playing other football.’ Or I was missing out with my mates. I was training most nights and was missing out. I was coming back from school and wanting to go out with my mates, but I had to go training.
“I had a serious meeting with the coaches at Hull [for them] to say: ‘No, we think you’ve got the ability and we want you to stay on here’.
“Thankfully, from there, I did stay on. But there were times when I wasn’t enjoying it, but I think as a person I developed a lot, especially when I went to play my first game for Wales when I was 14. The first games were against Belgium and Switzerland, and that changed me as well because I used to play striker at Hull, and when I went away with Wales, I played as a winger. I think that’s why I’ve come to be a winger now. Otherwise, I think I’d play in a different position.
“Obviously, I did enjoy my football – it was just that I was missing out with friends. But they are the sacrifices that sometimes you have to make as a footballer, to make it. I know nowadays there’s a lot more.
“I was training three times a week, where most boys now are training every day. That’s the sacrifice you’ve got to make. It is difficult, especially for parents as well.”
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