Daniel James could force his way into Leeds United plans when Wales face USA at Qatar World Cup 2022
It was a bit of a shock to everyone when Leeds United allowed Daniel James to join Fulham on a season-long loan deal on deadline day during the summer.
The winger was the club’s record signing after joining from Manchester United the year before, but he struggled under Marcelo Bielsa and Marsch in his only full season with the Whites and was allowed to leave the club.
Marsch saw the arrival of Willy Gnonto plus the promotion of Crysencio Summerville and signings of Luis Sinisterra and Brenden Aaronson in the attacking positions as enough of a reason to let him leave, but he now has a chance to prove the manager wrong.
James has been selected as part of the Wales squad to compete in the Qatar World Cup over the next month, and their first game will be against Marsch’s home nation – the United States of America.
Even if Leeds didn’t have Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams representing the team, you could bet your bottom dollar that Marsch would have his eyes glued to the screen to watch his nation compete in the biggest sporting tournament in the world.
But James, who is expected to start on the wing in their opening game on Monday (21 November), will know that if he can stand out then it could catch the eye of his parent club’s manager.
It’s not believed that there is a recall option in the deal with Fulham for James’ loan, so a return to Elland Road in January is almost impossible.
However with the club always planning in advance and knowing they will need to do business again in the summer, when James returns to the side, there could potentially be a spot for him in the team.
Whether it’s Marsch learning how Rob Page uses James and gets the best out of him at international level, or James just taking it upon himself to send a message to the manager, it’s a final lifeline for his Leeds career.
We accept that it’s highly unlikely that one game will have such a big swing on the future of a player, especially when he won’t be wearing our shirt again until next season at the earliest.
But stranger things have happened in football and if this tournament is the start of an upwards trajectory for James to get back to the level that convinced Leeds to spend £25m on bringing him in in the first place, then Marsch will be front and centre to watch it start.