By Phil Blanche, PA
Wales boss Rob Page is determined to help rebuild Daniel James’ faltering career.
Former Manchester United winger James returns to Old Trafford as part of a Fulham side seeking to spring a shock in the quarter-final of the FA Cup on Sunday.
James impressed at first at United following a £15million move from Swansea in 2019 before moving on to Leeds just over two years later.
Leeds paid £25m for the James but, after scoring just four goals in 40 appearances, he joined Fulham on loan this season where his fortunes have dipped again through limited game-time.
Page, who this week named James in his squad for opening Euro 2024 qualifiers against Croatia and Latvia, said: “DJ has gone there to play games and finds it frustrating that he’s not getting the minutes he would like.
“But DJ has still got the same ability and talent when he went to Man United.
“It’s my job now, and my staff’s job, to get him back up to the levels he’s shown before, because we know we’ve got a great asset there with his pace.”
James has made only three Premier League starts for Fulham since moving to Craven Cottage at the start of September.
Leeds have allowed James to play in the FA Cup and at Old Trafford he will go against United coach Eric Ramsay, who was appointed to the Wales coaching staff earlier this month.
The highly-rated Ramsay is United’s set-piece coach and Page believes his work on the Wales training ground with James will benefit the 25-year-old enormously.
“All players need an arm around them and managing differently,” Page said.
“DJ is a student of the game and goes to the nth degree, the way he looks back at his performances is brilliant.
“Eric is one of the best youth development coaches in Britain and he will be really valuable to him. Just going through his clips in training and trying to tweak a couple of things.”
Wales, entering a new era without record goalscorer Gareth Bale, start Euro 2024 qualifying in Croatia on Saturday before hosting Latvia in Cardiff three days later.
James has been a constant feature in the Wales line-up and started 34 consecutive competitive games before being benched for the World Cup defeat to Iran in November.
Page said: “DJ’s success for us is playing wide left so we’ll get him back playing football and in the right frame of mind.
“I spoke to him last week and I was really positive about him after our conversation.
“He’s disappointed he’s not playing, of course he is. But he’s ready for this camp and really looking forward to get going.”