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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Leeds’ “Absolute Nightmare” Could Be An Unlikely Hero

Leeds United fans may be of the opinion that Daniel James has already played his last game for the club, as he has struggled to have much of an impact following his £25m move from Manchester United.

However, should the West Yorkshire outfit suffer relegation on Sunday – with only a remarkable set of results likely to be enough to keep Sam Allardyce’s side in the Premier League – James could return to Elland Road for the 2023/24 campaign and be an unlikely hero in the Championship.


How has Dan James performed at Leeds?

Leeds signed the Wales international under Marcelo Bielsa in 2021, with the speedy winger signing a £50k-per-week deal until 2026.

Although he managed four goals and four assists in 32 Premier League appearances in his debut season, his WhoScored average rating of 6.44/10 suggests his overall performances were far from good enough.

Bielsa obviously had a plan for the former Swansea City man, but once he was sacked, James struggled for regular game time under Jesse Marsch and mustered just four appearances at the start of this season before joining Fulham on loan.

Although he has not been a regular in Marco Silva’s side, managing just five starts in the top flight, he does boast two goals and one assist, with his electric pace still a very dangerous asset for any side to have on the counter-attack.

The 25-year-old did enjoy a brief run of form when Bielsa selected him as a striker in 2022, with Micah Richards singing his praises on Match of the Day after a brace against Aston Villa.

He said (as per This Is Futbol): “He scored two before today’s game, he got another two today and I thought his all-round game was outstanding. We’ve talked a lot about Dan James – at Man United, he used to get into some very good positions and fluff his lines a little bit.

“But I’ve seen a measured, a more composed approach, his runs in behind – as a defender, it’s an absolute nightmare.”

Could James be an unlikely hero for Leeds?

After a few seasons of struggle in the Premier League, a return to the Championship could be exactly what James needs to kickstart his Leeds career.


The Welshman was young the last time he featured in the second tier with Swansea City, but impressed with his performances, notching four goals and seven assists with a strong 6.95 average rating from WhoScored.

James will likely be back at Elland Road for pre-season unless a Premier League side takes a gamble on signing him, and with three years to run on his deal, the new manager will surely want to take a look at him before making a decision on his future.

While the fanbase may be forgiven for writing him off at this point, there is no doubt that he could be a great option for Leeds if they find themselves in the second tier, and he could be an unlikely hero in any potential promotion challenge next season.

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