Leeds United boss Daniel Farke reveals emerging Whites leader amid a 'fantastic' injury boost

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Leeds United head to Swansea City on Tuesday night as they aim to keep their Championship promotion bid on track

Leeds United manager Daniel Farke has hailed the leadership qualities of winger Dan James as he prepares to welcome back the Welshman into his squad on Tuesday night.

The 26-year-old has missed the last four games in all competitions after sustaining a minor hip injury in the Whites' narrow win over Norwich City at the end of last month, but he is back in contention as Leeds head to Swansea City for a midweek encounter.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Willy Gnonto has stepped up in the Welshman's absence, as he scored the vital goal in the 1-0 win at Bristol City as well as opening the scoring with a fine strike in the 4-1 win at Plymouth Argyle in an FA Cup fourth round replay. James' return leaves Farke with a bit of selection headache but the German only sees the positives as Leeds look to keep pace with Southampton in the battle for second place.

"Yes, he's [Gnonto] playing with consistency and also his end product, that's good. But it's definitely good news to have Daniel back because he was also fantastic also in terms of end products before his injury. And we have lots of loads and many games upcoming and for that it's good to have another option and a really good option and also a key player with Daniel back," said Farke.

James has 10 goals and seven assists in 29 appearances this term, and is enjoying a fine spell in his Elland Road career under Farke. He was sent out on loan to Fulham last year but has returned to West Yorkshire and established himself as a key member of the Whites squad. Farke has hailed him for his leadership and says the Wales international leads back example on the pitch, rather than doing much talking off it.

He added: "In our group he is an experienced player also with appearances for the national team. So it's quite natural the older you get and the more experience you get, the more important is also your word in the dressing room, obviously. But it's not like the leadership [is] just in the dressing room. It's also like to lead by example in the games and when I think about how many times he was capable, for example, to initiate our pressing or to recover the ball with sprinting back and then win the ball with a tackle, this is also called leadership and I would say this leadership is even more important than to be there with great speeches in the dressing room.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"So the most important leadership is even what you do on the pitch. Especially when once a player was known for his offensive qualities, the same capability to sacrifice himself with sprint back to recover the ball, to win the ball back with a great tackle or to initiate the pressing, this has also a big effect on the whole team, sometimes even on the whole stadium and everyone is cheering up.

"So I think he's not there each and every day with speeches in the dressing room, but he leads by example in the training and also in the games. This is also what we what we ask him for because he's meanwhile also at an age where he has to show this and to sense also his importance for the team and for that, lots of credit also for Daniel."

Leeds sit one point behind Southampton in the table and three ahead of Ipswich Town, with Farke's side having played a game more than both clubs. Southampton head to Bristol City on Tuesday while Ipswich are also on the road, as they visit Millwall on Wednesday evening.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.