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Man United’s newest star Daniel James admits he had nearly quit football at the age of 12

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Man United's newest star Daniel James admits he had nearly quit football at the age of 12

Manchester United star Daniel James has revealed he had almost quit playing football at the age of 12 in order to spend more time with friends.

The Welsh winger had contemplated leaving the Hull City Academy as he believed he was missing out on social gatherings but eventually changed his mind after a meeting with coaches.

And after receiving reassurance over his abilities, James then went on to climb the ranks with the East Yorkshire side before completing a move to Swansea.

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His performances infamously caught the eye of Manchester United in the summer, but the electric wideman may not have secured his dream top-flight move had he dropped out of youth football at an early age.

Speaking to Inside United magazine, James said: ‘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”.

‘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 now 21-year-old also admitted that playing for Wales on the international stage had increased his versatility, as his nation were the first to introduce him to life on the flanks.

James 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.’

But after reflecting on the tough decision as a youngster to fully commit to football, the Welshman believes that his period of uncertainty ultimately helped him mature.

He said: ‘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.’

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