Daniel James Admits He Came Close to Quitting Football During Early Stages of His Career

Manchester United sensation Daniel James has admitted that he came close to quitting the game aged just 12 - also revealing that he used to play as a striker when he was growing up.

It has been a rip-roaring start to Premier League life for the 21-year-old, who has taken to top flight football like a duck to water - scoring three goals in his first five league appearances to help catapult the Red Devils into the top four.

Having signed for ​United over the summer for a meagre £15m, James has looked undeterred by the pressures of Old Trafford and sits joint-top of the club''s top scorer charts this season alongside Marcus Rashford. 

While his ascension to ​Premier League stardom, along with his rapid rise to prominence with the Welsh national team, has been smoother than expected, it almost never came to pass - with the winger revealing to his club's ​official website that a decision in his teenage years nearly derailed everything.

“At the start, when I got to nearly 12 years old, I actually nearly gave up football,” he said. "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. 

Daniel James

"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."

This all occurred during his youth career days at Hull - the place of his birth - a club where James spent 14 years of his life before moving on to Swansea in 2014. Before that move ever took place, however, the forward revealed a face-to-face meeting with Hull coaches made him realise his potential - and even change his position.

"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," he added. 

"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.”

Source : 90min