Cymru manager Rob Page has encouraged top-flight clubs to make a move for Daniel James, referring to the Welsh winger as a “Premier League player.” James’s club future remains uncertain following Leeds United’s relegation to the Sky Bet Championship.
Having spent the previous season on loan with Fulham, James has now returned to his parent club, Leeds, in the second tier of English football. The winger’s standout performances with Swansea City earned him a move to Manchester United in 2019. However, he struggled to secure regular game-time during his loan spell at Fulham, making just five Premier League starts and scoring three goals in 23 appearances across all competitions.
Despite James’s recent challenges, Rob Page remains confident in his abilities. In an interview, Page stated, “I do think DJ is a Premier League player and he could easily play there again. If I’m a Premier League manager and I find out he’s available, personally I’d take him. He still has things to work on, but with the pace he’s got, it is a brave team that plays a high line against him.”
James’s move to Leeds in August 2021 came with a price tag of £25 million, making him a significant investment for the club. However, the 25-year-old has often delivered his best performances while representing the Welsh national team. He started 34 consecutive competitive games until being benched for the World Cup defeat to Iran in November.
Rob Page acknowledged James’s versatility and the different roles he has been asked to play, saying, “He has taken one for the team in recent months because I’ve asked him to play a different role. He likes playing wide left, and the way we play now suits us because he gives us the width on the left. He’s that option in behind, and when you’ve got a tool like that in your armory, it really is effective.”
With forthcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Armenia and Turkey, Cymru will look to build on their previous success, having secured four points from their opening two games in March. Page has taken his squad to Portugal for preparation ahead of these important matches. He also had the opportunity to engage with Warren Gatland, the head coach of the Wales rugby team and former British and Irish Lions boss, during the Football Association of Wales’ National Coaches Conference in Newport.
Reflecting on his meeting with Gatland, Page shared, “I had a great chat with him over dinner and wanted to pick his brains. It’s not every day you get the chance to share dinner with a man of his stature. We talked about how we deal with players, groups of men, and it was really interesting. He spoke about how he deals with individuals. It was refreshing to learn it’s how I’ve dealt with individuals in the past. We are from a similar era and share similar culture and values. When you are dealing with a player, you do it to their face.”
As the summer transfer window approaches, it remains to be seen whether Premier League clubs will heed Rob Page’s recommendation and make a move for Daniel James, who continues to showcase his potential on the international stage.