Daniel James almost quit football during his time with Hull City’s academy. The Welshman started his career in the Tigers’ youth system before moving to Swansea City and then Manchester United. Football fans can book Wales Euro Cup Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.
He has gone on to win six caps for his country under Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs. The most recent of which saw him score the winner in a 1-0 triumph over Belarus at Cardiff City Stadium. But James has revealed he came agonizingly close to giving up the game.
When he was 12 years of age so he could play football with friends.
“At the start, when I got to nearly 12 years old, I actually nearly gave up football. I wasn’t enjoying it. I was telling my mum and dad: ‘I’d rather be playing other football with my mates’,” he told Inside United.
I was working out most nights and was missing out. I was coming back from school and wanting to go out with my buddies, but I had to go training. I had a serious consultation with the coaches at Hull for them to say No we think you’ve got the capacity and we want you to stay on here.
Thankfully, from there, I did stay on. But there were eras when I wasn’t enjoying it. Obviously, I did enjoy my football. It was just that I was missing out on friends. But they are the costs 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.”
The 21-year-old has enjoyed a whirlwind rise since making his first-team debut for Swansea City in January last year. He became a regular for the Swans under Graham Potter the last term. Such was his drastic improvement in the latter half of the 2018/19 campaign, Manchester United paid £15m.
A fee that could rise to £18m with add-ons, to sign him from the Swans. His versatility was key for Swansea and James credits the Wales youth set-up for turning him from a striker to a winger.
“I think as a person I developed a lot, especially when I went to play my first game for Wales when I was 14,” he added.
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