Welsh international Daniel James left Manchester United for Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United in August, and the winger has opened up about the differences he has encountered
Former Manchester United winger Daniel James has revealed he has “taken so much” out of the training sessions at current club Leeds United since trading Old Trafford for Elland Road.
The Welshman, who was courted by the Whites before joining Man Utd from Swansea City in 2019, completed a £25m move to Yorkshire just days after Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Old Trafford and less than a month after playing against Leeds on the opening weekend of the season.
The shift from playing under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to working with Marcelo Bielsa has been a dramatic one, with James adjusting to life under his new boss as the season has progressed.
While Man Utd fans might not be too upset to have seen the 24-year-old move on, especially considering they turned a rare profit when selling him on, James’ comments about the differences between his former and current club will be difficult to ignore.
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“The detail is second to none,” James told BBC Radio Leeds when asked about life at Bielsa’s Leeds.
“Everything is so fine and detailed. The one-to-one meetings and everyone’s obviously got their individual clips to look at, which he goes through with you.
“The detail of it. I’ve learnt so much here already and I’ve still got so much to learn, but he’s been absolutely brilliant since I’ve come in.”
Bielsa has been at Elland Road since 2018, leading his squad to promotion in his second season and following it with a mid-table finish in the Premier League.
James was one of a number of summer arrivals, with Junior Firpo joining from Barcelona and Jack Harrison completing a permanent switch after spending time on loan at Leeds from Manchester City.
The former Swansea man has two goals for the club, netting away at Tottenham and at home to Burnley, and has spoken of how Bielsa’s training methods have helped the on-pitch displays.
“There’s times where he’s had to reiterate things, but there’s stuff in the games you do which maybe doesn’t get seen,” he said
“Off the ball I find myself doing without even thinking anymore because we do it in training every single day.”
The reference to the detail within Bielsa’s methods won’t be lost on supporters of United, with the Red Devils experiencing problems both under Solskjaer and under his interim successor Ralf Rangnick.
Solskjaer’s training methods were described as “basic” and “lacking creativity” during the 2020-21 season, and the Norwegian was sacked in November after a dire league run threatened United’s hopes of Champions League qualification.
The top four pursuit is back on track under Rangnick, but the German – and his assistant Chris Armas – have experienced issues of their own since moving to Manchester.