Daniel James: Manchester United winger admits he nearly gave up football as a youngster
Man Utd travel to the London Stadium on Sunday to face West Ham, live on Sky Sports Premier League
Last Updated: 17/09/19 10:43pm
Manchester United winger Daniel James has revealed he nearly gave up football when he was younger as he "wasn't enjoying it".
James is now a Manchester United regular and has six international caps for Wales, but things could have been very different for the 21-year-old.
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When he was in the youth academy at Hull, James almost stopped playing football in order to spend more time with his friends.
James told Inside United magazine: "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'. 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.
"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'.
"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."
After spending seven years at boyhood club Hull, James went on to join Swansea City before an £18m move to United in the summer.
James has since gone on to score in three of United's five Premier League games this season and added two goals to his tally for Wales, and he insists the international set-up was invaluable to his development as a youngster.
He added: "Thankfully, from there, I did stay on. But 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.
"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."
James will be looking to make his European debut on Thursday when United face Astana in the Europa League, before a trip to the London Stadium to play West Ham on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League.