Rob Page has said Manchester United are to blame for Daniel James’ “mismanagement” during the winger’s disappointing spell at Old Trafford and admits the former Swansea City star’s ongoing struggle for playing time remains an issue.
However, he insists he is confident he will be back full steam ahead as he prepares Wales for a remarkable new era.
James has spent the season on loan at Fulham, who face the Red Devils in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday, but he has not played a Premier League game since October and has played just 38 minutes since the third round. beat Hull on 7 January.
With Gareth Bale retired, Page is likely to rely more on the 25-year-old to provide inspiration in the final third, with Wales set to open their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign against Croatia on March 25.
“I spoke to DJ last week,” Page said. “He’s doing well, but I’m disappointed he’s not playing. Of course he plays. He went there [to Fulham] to play football and get frustrated because he doesn’t have as many minutes as he would like.
“It’s not what we want, but in the last two years it’s what we’ve become used to. We’ve done this successfully in the past by managing loads and accelerating them, and we’ll have to keep doing that so the game doesn’t blow them away.”
James has struggled for Premier League regularity since making a £15m move to Manchester United in 2019, but Page believes the striker has been mistreated during his two-year spell with the current League Cup holders.
“The difference in expectations between a Swansea team and a Man United team is chalk and cheese,” he added. “Sometimes they can handle players badly. DJ went to a club where he was expected to win games.
“When he scored goals and created chances, he was brilliant. When that doesn’t happen, there comes a time when you have to take a young player and protect him a bit, knowing that his form will be erratic. you have to accept.
“I think a young player could behave a little differently going from the Championship to the Premier League and there would certainly be a dip in form. My job now is to bring it back to the level it used to be, because we know we have a huge advantage DJing with his rhythm.”
James left Manchester United for longtime supporters Leeds United in 2021 but has struggled to return to top form as his loan spell at Fulham is part of a bid to find much needed playing time.
But while his time in Division One hasn’t been as good as some had hoped, Page says James himself is already getting an eye on his game and will benefit from the newfound influence of new assistant boss Eric Ramsey, who has joined the team. on the sidelines of the Wales team earlier this month.
“DJ is a student of the game and takes it to the nth degree. The way he approaches his performances is brilliant,” he added. “Eric Ramsey, who I brought in from Manchester United, is one of Britain’s best youth development coaches and will be invaluable.
“Let’s evaluate [James] when we send him to camp. I felt very positive about him after our conversation. Disappointed, he won’t play, but he’s ready for this camp and can’t wait to get started.”
Source: Wales Online
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