Champion League

Farke must now ditch his ‘headless’ Elland Road flop

Leeds United continued their mixed start to life back in the Championship with a 0-0 draw away to Hull City on Wednesday night, with the Whites having now won just two of their opening seven league games to leave them two points outside the playoffs.

The Yorkshire giants’ hopes of securing a second successive victory were no doubt hampered, however, by the loss of summer signing Joe Rodon to a red card on the hour mark, although the 25-year-old wasn’t the only Welshman to have been culpable as Daniel Farke’s men failed to clinch a much-needed three points – with Daniel James also failing to impress from the flanks.

How did Dan James perform against Hull City?

The former Manchester United man – who was once part of Hull’s academy set-up – was unable to build upon his late cameo appearance in the 3-0 win over Millwall last time out, having teed up Georginio Rutter for his second assist of the season at The Den.

There was to be no such notable contribution this time around, however, as the “headless” speedster – as previously described by pundit Darren Bent – was rather ineffective in his right-wing berth, having been restricted to just 27 touches in total on the night.


The 45-cap international also made just 12 passes in total as a marker of his inability to get on the ball and pose a threat to the hosts’ back line, with that tally lower than what both Ryan Allsop and Illan Meslier achieved in either goal, the pair having racked up 43 and 36 passes, respectively.

While James was eventually withdrawn following his compatriot Rodon’s dismissal, his woes prior to that were further laid bare by the fact that he won just 50% of his ground duels and was dribbled past on three occasions, hardly helping out Luke Ayling behind him in that right channel.

Such a limp showing from the £50k-per-week menace ensured it was a ‘night that made him look like a better option to make an impact off the bench’ – as per Leeds Live’s Beren Cross – with his ‘end product’ having been ‘lacking’, in the words of Yorkshire Evening Post journalist, Graham Smyth.

How has Dan James performed this season?

Prior to yesterday’s stalemate, it had proven a relatively promising start to the campaign for the £25m man, with James having made his presence felt after returning from his loan spell at Fulham last term, where he scored three goals in just 23 appearances for the west London side.

Now back at Elland Road, the one-time Shrewsbury Town loanee was particularly impressive in the draw with West Bromwich Albion last month, with Cross writing that it was ‘one of his best games for Leeds in a very long time’, as he got off the mark with a late assist.

An injury setback subsequently ruled him out for the meetings with Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday, while the diminutive talent only returned off the bench at the weekend, with it having been an unhappy recall to the starting XI against the Tigers.

With Farke blessed with attacking alternatives such as Jaidon Anthony and Crysencio Summerville – the latter man having been described by Cross as ‘by far the best attacking outlet on the night’ – it would be wise to consider ditching James from the side moving forward, after he simply failed to take his chance.

There is no denying that the winger’s “raw pace” is an asset, yet he doesn’t appear to have the “knowledge or the know-how” – according to former Leeds man Ian Harte – hence why Farke should look for another solution in those wide berths.



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