Wales coach Rob Page has taken aim at Manchester United over their management of Daniel James.
James, 25, who has 42 caps and five international goals, did not establish himself at United after a £15million move from Championship club Swansea in 2019. He then moved to Leeds for £25m in August 2021 but again struggled to play regularly amid criticism from fans.
This term, he joined promoted Fulham on loan but has made just three top-flight starts as Marco Silva has used James mainly as a substitute. Yet Page insists James remains an important part of his plans as he aims to restore the winger's confidence which he reckons was dented at Old Trafford.
Page reflected: “The difference in expectation from being in a Swansea team to a Man United team is chalk and cheese. At times, they can be mismanaging players. DJ went into a club that was expected to win games.
“When he was scoring goals and creating chances, he was brilliant. When that doesn't quite happen, then there is a time you have to pull a young player out and protect him a little bit - knowing that a young player's form is going to be inconsistent and you have to accept that.
“I think he could have been managed a little bit differently when you have a player going from the Championship to the Premier League. No doubt he was going to hit a little bit of a dip in form.
“It is my job now and the staff to get him back up to the levels he has shown before because we know we have a great asset in DJ with his pace. The Leeds move was another big club which didn't quite work out for him.
“But DJ's success with us has been playing wide left. We will get him back playing football and get him in the right frame of mind. He has still got the same ability and is the same talent."
Page added: “I spoke with DJ last week and he is fine. He is disappointed he is not playing, of course he is. He has gone there to play games of football and he finds it frustrating he is not getting the minutes he would like. All players need an arm around them.
“DJ is a student of the game. He goes to the nth degree to look back at his performances which is brilliant. Eric Ramsay, who I have brought in from Man United, he is one of the best youth development coaches in Britain at this moment in time.
“People like Eric are going to be really valuable to DJ - even in training just to go through his clips and try to tweak a couple of things. We are there to help him."