Daniel James has admitted he almost quit football altogether when he was 12 years old.
The Man Utd winger has hit the ground running for his new club, as well as his country, following his £15 million move from Swansea in the summer.
After scoring on his debut for the Red Devils, James has followed that up with two more strikes, before firing a wonder goal for Wales in a recent friendly.
His performances have got United fans purring, as club legend Patrice Evra even admitted getting “goosebumps” watching the youngster.
But despite clearly enjoying his time on the pitch this season, it wasn’t always that way for James during his youth career at Hull academy.
“At the start, when I got to nearly 12 years old, I actually nearly gave up football,” James told Inside United . “I wasn’t enjoying it.
“I was telling my mum and dad: ‘I’d rather be playing other football’. Or I was missing [going] out with my mates.
“I was training most nights and was missing out. I was coming back from school and wanting to go out with my mates, but I had to go training.
“I had a serious meeting with the coaches at Hull [for them] to say: ‘No, we think you’ve got the ability and we want you to stay on here’. Thankfully, from there, I did stay on.”
James looks to have a bright future at United, with boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer putting his faith in him during the opening stages of the season.
But James admits some of the credit must go to the Wales youth set-up for making a key change on his path to becoming a professional.
“There were times when I wasn’t enjoying it, but I think as a person I developed a lot, especially when I went to play my first game for Wales when I was 14,” he said.
“The first games were against Belgium and Switzerland, and that changed me as well because I used to play striker at Hull, and when I went away with Wales, I played as a winger.
“I think that’s why I’ve come to be a winger now. Otherwise, I think I’d play in a different position.”