Daniel Owen James (born 10 November 1997) is a professional footballer who plays as a winger for Premier League club Manchester United and the Wales national team.
He made his professional debut for Swansea City in February 2018, and signed for Manchester United in June 2019. He made his senior Wales debut in November 2018, having previously represented the nation at various youth levels.
James was born in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, and attended South Hunsley School.
A highly regarded prospect of the Hull City academy side, James joined Swansea City in 2014 for an initial fee of £72,000, immediately becoming part of their U18 academy side. By the 2016–17 season, James had become an integral part of the Swansea U23 side who gained promotion to the PDL Division 1, winning the league by an 11-point margin. Additionally, James contributed to the side winning the Premier League Cup, and reaching the semi-finals of the Premier League International Cup and the quarter-finals of the EFL Trophy.
Following his impressive displays in the development squad, James was included in the first-team squad for the first time in January 2016 for the FA Cup defeat to Oxford United. Although James did not make an appearance off the bench, his progress was deemed sufficient for him to be offered a new three-year contract the following week. He was again named on the bench for a Premier League fixture against Stoke City in October 2016.
On 30 June 2017, James signed for League One club Shrewsbury Town on loan until the end of the season. His loan deal was terminated by mutual consent on 31 August 2017, after he failed to force his way into the starting 11. James' only inclusion in a matchday squad was as an unused substitute in an EFL Cup first round tie against Nottingham Forest.
On 6 February 2018, he made his Swansea first-team debut as a late substitute, scoring in the 82nd minute of an 8–1 FA Cup victory over Notts County. He made his league debut for Swansea on 17 August 2018 in a 0–0 draw against Birmingham City in the EFL Championship. He scored his first league goal for the club on 24 November 2018 in a 4–1 home defeat against Norwich City. In December 2018, with James now a regular and one of the standout performers for Swansea, manager Graham Potter revealed that the club were looking to open talks with James over a new contract. Despite discussion of a move to Leeds United during the January 2019 transfer window, James was named in the starting line-up for Swansea against Birmingham City on 29 January, with James scoring his second goal of the season in a 3–3 draw.
On 31 January 2019, with James expressing his desire to leave Swansea to join Leeds United, a structured £10 million fee was agreed between the two clubs, James agreed terms and completed the medical at Leeds, and was at Elland Road conducting signing interviews and announcement photoshoots ahead of the deal being completed. However, after speculation of a disagreement between Swansea owners and their chairman regarding the structure of the deal an hour before the transfer window's 11 pm deadline, James was left at Elland Road awaiting the deal to be signed off by Swansea, with the window closing at 11 pm.
After Swansea failed to complete the deal, James' agent claimed it was "very disappointing" and claimed "Swansea made no attempt to keep the player and at the first sign of money they couldn't show him the door quickly enough." At the end of the 2018–19 season, with Leeds missing out on automatic promotion, Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa said that he refused to blame the club for missing out on James, but said, "I'm not underlying the importance of the absence of James".
On 6 June 2019, James underwent a medical with Premier League club Manchester United ahead of a transfer for a reported fee of £15 million with the potential for additional payments. The following day, United announced they had agreed terms, "in principle", with Swansea for the signing of James. On 12 June 2019, United officially announced the signing of James on a five-year contract, with an option to extend for a further year. He scored his first goal for the club on his competitive debut, coming on as a substitute to score United's final goal in a 4–0 win over Chelsea.
Born in England, James qualifies to play for Wales through his father, Kevan, who was born in Aberdare. James scored at the Toulon Tournament playing for Wales U20 in a 1–0 win over Bahrain U20 after he won and scored the resulting penalty.
James received his first senior call-up for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying game against Serbia in 2017 by manager Chris Coleman and subsequently made his full Wales debut under Coleman's successor, Ryan Giggs, in a match against Albania in November 2018, playing the first 58 minutes of the game. James scored his first Wales goal in only his second cap, netting the only goal of the game in the opening minutes against Slovakia in his competitive home debut.
Style of play
James can play as a winger, and also as an attacking midfielder. He is known for his pace and skill.
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