Pundit explains why £24m Man Utd transfer has ‘backfired’ on Leeds

Joe Williams
Leeds winger Daniel James walks around the Elland Road pitch

Former Premier League striker Kevin Phillips thinks the signing of Dan James from Manchester United has “backfired” on Leeds United.

James joined Leeds in the summer from the Red Devils as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tried to balance his squad after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo.

The winger hasn’t his top form so far for Marcelo Bielsa’s side who are struggling for momentum after a number of injuries to key players.

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James picked up a muscular injury in their 7-0 loss to Manchester City last week to add to the growing list of injured players at Leeds.

Leeds have conceded 14 goals in their last three Premier League matches and have only won one of theis last eight fixtures.

And Phillips reckons the £24m spent on James would’ve been better used on improving other areas of their squad.

Phillips told Football Insider: “I’ve said that all along. I don’t think that was an area which needed strengthening. You’ve got Jack Harrison and Raphinha, two quality players – as well as others who can fill in.

“I thought it would backfire if they didn’t bring in that other recognised goalscorer – and it has. He’s played Dan James down the middle, but he’s never a striker in a million years.

“It’s just papering over the cracks at the moment. Adam Forshaw and Stuart Dallas are hardly setting the world alight as well in midfield.

“They should have used that money to go and get a quality striker who could have challenged Bamford or come in when he’s out the team. That would have given them a real chance of staying in this league.”

On what Leeds need to do to improve, Phillips added: “You need to look at everything at this time of year. There are lots of games and the pitches are heavy.

“We know the intensity that Leeds train with is very high – the same during games.

“These injuries will just be a culmination of all of those factors, especially with Phillips and Bamford. Don’t forget that Phillips played so much football during the summer.

“Certainly, at this time of year, I think it’s hugely important to ease off during training – keep the intensity but not for that extended period – maybe an hour, as opposed to two or three hours.

“Everyone will be fully fit and raring to go regardless. You’d have to raise question marks about what is going on at the training ground if any more players have to go on that treatment table.”