Ryan Giggs urges referees to protect Wales winger Daniel James


Wales manager Ryan Giggs says Manchester United winger Daniel James is no diver and needs extra protection from referees.

James was booked for simulation on his first United start in Monday’s 1-1 Premier League draw at Wolves, his every touch booed thereafter by the Molineux faithful.

But Giggs said 21-year-old speedster James – who scored on his United debut as a substitute in the opening-day 4-0 win over Chelsea – needs greater protection after being fouled several times at Wolves.

Manchester United v Chelsea – Premier League – Old Trafford
Daniel James, right, was booked for simulation in Manchester United’s 1-1 draw at Wolves (Martin Rickett/PA)

“You’ve seen he gets kicked a lot,” Giggs said after naming James in his 26-man squad for next month’s crunch Euro 2020 qualifier against Azerbaijan in Cardiff.

“Sometimes when you anticipate it, it can look live a dive. The speed he’s going at it can look worse, but I’m not worried about that.

“He gets a lot of stick and referees need to protect him.

Croatia v Wales – UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying – Group E – Stadion Gradski Vrt
Wales manager Ryan Giggs says Daniel James needs greater protection from referees (Adam Davy/PA)

“I watched a lot of the pre-season games and he did well as he usually plays on the left.

“It gives me a different option as well if he’s playing his club football on the right. If I want to do that I can.”

While James has settled in well at United following his £15million move from Swansea, Wales’ talisman Gareth Bale has had a difficult summer at Real Madrid.

The 30-year-old forward had a public fallout with manager Zinedine Zidane and was on his way to the Chinese Super League until a lucrative move collapsed at the last minute.

Bale is now back in Zidane’s plans and started Real’s opening league game last weekend, making the first goal in a 3-1 win against Celta Vigo.

“I kept in touch with him (over the summer) to see if he was all right,” Giggs said.

“It was a strange situation but hopefully now it’s sorted out – Gareth stays and plays games.

“It’s obviously positive at the moment, I’m really pleased with the situation and looking forward to meeting up.”

Hungary v Wales – UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying – Group E – Groupama Arena
Wales star Gareth Bale is back in the Real Madrid fold after an aborted move to the Chinese Super League (Joe Giddens/PA)

Asked whether Bale’s Wales career would have proved difficult had he moved to China, Giggs added: “It wouldn’t have been ideal.

“It’s a preference for your players to be in Europe with the travelling and the different calendars, but I’d still have picked him.”

Bale will captain Wales in the absence of veteran defender Ashley Williams, who has been left out of the squad as he is currently unattached after being released by Everton in June.

Wales v Republic of Ireland – UEFA Nations League – League B – Group 4 – Cardiff City Stadium
Wales captain Ashley Williams was left out of the squad for the Euro 2020 qualifier with Azerbaijan (Mike Egerton/PA)

Giggs also confirmed that Bale is Wales’ designated penalty-taker, thus avoiding the situation at his former club United where Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford have taken spot-kicks this season.

Aaron Ramsey has previously taken penalties for Wales – converting efforts in Scotland and Serbia – when Bale has not been on the pitch.

Paul Dummett’s international career looks over after he made himself unavailable for Wales duty, the second time the Newcastle defender has done that by saying he wanted to focus on his club football.

Dummett ruled himself out in May 2017 under previous Wales boss Chris Coleman before returning 15 months later, and Giggs said: “I think that will be it.

“I’m not fussed about that. He’s playing in the Premier League, he’s a good defender, but I’ve got options.”

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