Former Premier League defender Alan Hutton feels Dan James is struggling to adapt to what Marcelo Bielsa wants at Leeds United.
The Lowdown: James not off to best start
£16.2m-valued James (Transfermarkt) made the move to Elland Road from Manchester United during the summer transfer window, with the Whites finally capturing their man after almost doing so two years ago (via Wales Online).
The Wales international has not had the best of starts in Yorkshire however, failing to score and providing just one assist in nine outings in all competitions (Transfermarkt), while he has already been used in four different positions by Marcelo Bielsa, perhaps suggesting the Argentine hasn’t quite found what the Wales international is best at yet.
The Latest: Hutton questions James’ ability to adapt
Speaking to Football Insider, Hutton, 36, believes James is failing to adapt to what his manager wants. He said:
“To be honest, I think it’s his all-round game.
“Let’s be honest, he’s still adapting to the style and what Bielsa wants from him. He was kind of stuck out on the left for a long period of time.
“Balls were going over his head and he was actually being asked to be a left-back at times. There was one he got caught out and Norwich had a really good opportunity from it.
“After that, Bielsa realised and put him through the middle, tried to utilise his pace.
“I think he’s still adapting to the way they play. It’s man-v-man covering, it can be hectic at times when you’re at the stadium when you’re actually watching it.
“These are things that he has to get used to. He has to get used to it quick because the expectation levels on him are obviously very high.”
The Verdict: Give him time
James was signed for a hefty £25m from the Red Devils (BBC) – only Rodrigo has ever cost Leeds more. As such, the expectations on the 23-year-old’s shoulders are heavier than they would be for most, especially given the Yorkshire outfit are currently 17th in the Premier League table.
Are you happy with the signing of James?
It would appear the former Swansea City winger is struggling to match Bielsa’s defensive demands. He has averaged 0.6 tackles and 0.3 interceptions per game with his new club (via WhoScored). Raphinha for example, an attacking player just like James, has managed 1.4 and 0.6 respectively, which is the kind of standard the new boy must match if he wants to make an impact.
However, it is hard to make such a judgement after two months – he deserves more time than that.
In other news, Leeds want to sign this Championship star.
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