Roy Keane told ITV Sport’s coverage of Wales’ 1-1 draw against USA on Monday evening that out-on-loan Leeds star Dan James was one of the main reasons why Robert Page’s side struggled in the first half, in their World Cup opener.
James, 25, left Leeds on loan to join Fulham in the summer. It comes after the Whites chose to bring in Brenden Aaronson and Luis Sinisterra and were planning on another signing on deadline day. He feared for his game time.
Ahead of the World Cup, it was too big a risk to take – Leeds eventually brought in Willy Gnonto. The Wales attacker went on loan to Fulham, where his game time has not been great either. Indeed, only three starts, and one goal so far.
With the loan only being a dry loan, and his contract at Elland Road lasting until June 2026, James could end up back at Leeds in the future. But for now, he is in Qatar with Wales. On Monday, Wales were woeful during the first 45.
USA took the lead through Timo Weah, with Tyler Adams in sparkling form in midfield. Taylor Twellman, an ex-USA striker, and US outlet CBS Sports were full of praise. James, meanwhile, was hooked at half-time. Keane had his say.
“Wales haven’t got started,” said Keane, at half-time on ITV, during Wales’ draw with USA. “Go back to the basics. They have been sloppy in play. Given the ball away cheaply. It’s gone up to James and he’s not got hold of it.
“You are not giving yourself a breather in the game. You have good options off the bench. Keep your head. But also, somebody say to these players ‘liven up, we need a little bit more. Cut out the sloppiness’.”
Keane: Leeds star James one of main reasons why Wales struggled
Keane was right to criticise James, so much so that when he came off at half-time and was replaced by Kieffer Moore, Wales were so much better. They eventually got themselves back into the game through a Gareth Bale penalty.
Indeed, Page will be looking at the chances his side had and wishing they had a bit of luck. Indeed, Matt Turner made a stunning save to deny Ben Davies, tipping a header over the bar. James may find himself on the bench against Iran.