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I nearly gave up football when I was 12 - Man Utd star James

19:30 GMT+3 17/09/2019
Daniel James Manchester United 2019-20
The winger has impressed with three goals in five Premier League games for the Red Devils, even though he wanted to quit the game as a child

Manchester United winger Daniel James almost walked away from football as a child because he "wasn't enjoying it".

The 21-year-old has had a great start to life at Old Trafford since joining from Swansea City in the close-season.

The winger opened his United account on his Premier League debut, coming off the bench to score the final goal as his side beat Chelsea 4-0 in the opening game of the season.

He has started all four games since then, finding the net against Crystal Palace and Southampton.

James may be a rising star for Wales and United, but he almost turned his back on it all during his days in the Hull City youth academy.

“At the start, when I got to nearly 12 years old, I actually nearly gave up football,” he told Inside United. “I wasn’t enjoying it. 

“I was telling my mum and dad: ‘I’d rather be playing other football'. Or I was missing [going] 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."

At the age of 14, James was called up to the Wales youth team and was moved from the striker position to the wing - a decision that changed his career.

"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," he said.

"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.”

Reflecting on the sacrifice he had to make to reach the English top-flight, James believes it is even more difficult for players progressing through youth academies now.

"Obviously, I did enjoy my football – it was just that I was missing out with friends," he added. "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.”