Rio Ferdinand says Daniel James is “going to be a problem” for a few teams this season after sealing a move to Leeds United on deadline day.
The Wales star moved to Elland Road from Manchester United for a £25million fee – would could rise to £30million after add-ons.
The transfer brought a certain degree of closure for James after he saw a loan deal to Marcelo Bielsa’s side collapse in January 2019 when Swansea City pulled the plug with minutes to spare before the transfer deadline.
Instead, James headed to Old Trafford six months later for £15million, and although he experienced a number of memorable moments with the Red Devils, the 23-year-old failed to nail down a regular starting spot under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
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Ferdinand was one of James’ biggest supporters during his time at the club, and although he believes the Welshman wasn’t quite “Man United standard”, he feels like he will be a big hit at Elland Road.
“They’ve been on him for ages, they’ve wanted this boy for time,” Ferdinand said.
“Listen, Dan James, I don’t think he’s Man United standard, but he’s definitely Premier League standard and the way Leeds play, he’s going to be a problem for a few teams.
“The kid in that team it will be getting the ball and getting forward quick, and that suits his game. When you have to break down two banks of four like Man United that doesn’t suit James’ game, he likes space. But yeah, Leeds United for Dan James will be a fantastic move for both parties.”
It is a view echoed by Gary Neville and James’ national team manager Rob Page.
James will likely line up in the red of Wales against Belarus on Sunday afternoon, and Page feels the winger’s move to Leeds will now bring out the best in him.
He said : “Everybody’s seen the ability DJ’s got. We’ve seen snippets of it at international level. He’s been first class for us. When you’ve got to a team like Leeds with manager like Bielsa, who demands high intensity for 90 minutes, he will always have that ability if you get him extremely fit.
“We’re only going to benefit from it. To have someone of DJ’s ability, getting into the 80th minute and not have to worry about substitutions because he’s got that resilience now in him and the fitness to be able to sustain that for 90 minutes, then we’ll get the complete player.”