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.
“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.
“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.”
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.
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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The Frenchman’s latest miss proved costly on Monday night as United were held to a 1-1 draw at Wolves, with Pogba seeing his 68th-minute spot-kick saved by Rui Patricio.
Pogba only took the penalty after a discussion with team-mate Marcus Rashford, who scored from the spot for the first time in the Premier League against Chelsea last weekend and is yet to miss a spot-kick in his professional career.
Gary Neville branded the apparent confusion over who should take the penalty “embarrassing”, saying on Sky Sports: “This is a Manchester United penalty, this is not a tombola, this is not under-fives on a school field.”
Neville pointed to Rashford’s success last week and, despite his relative inexperience, the England man might have a better claim to be taking United’s spot-kicks given that Pogba ranks among the worst regular Premier League penalty takers.
After his three misses out of 10 attempts last season, Pogba now has a conversion rate of 63.6 per cent in the Premier League.
Of the 14 current players to have taken at least 10 penalties in the league, only Manchester City’s Riyah Mahrez has a worse return rate, having scored seven of the 12 (58.3 per cent) he has taken.
Everton’s Leighton Baines, now largely a back-up to Lucas Digne but in line to start against Aston Villa next weekend following an injury to the Frenchman, has the best success rate, having scored 20 of his 22 (90.9 per cent) Premier League penalties.
Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic is just behind, having scored 19 of his 21 penalties (90.5 per cent).
Pogba is the only current United player to have taken more than 10 Premier League penalties.
Gary Neville has heaped praise on Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne after his ‘mesmerising’ show against Tottenham in the Premier League.
The defending champions were held to a 2-2 draw, with the Belgian walking away with two spectacular assists. He whipped in an inch-perfect cross for Raheem Sterling to head home for City’s first and followed it with a precise low cross to Sergio Aguero.
His performance attracted superlatives from many pundits – not least Neville, who believes the 28-year-old’s crossing is as good as a former team-mate of his at Old Trafford.
“I like watching tactical games, close games, I have never really got overawed by watching an individual but De Bruyne mesmerises me,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“He is the type of player that is so good, he is world class, and for the first hour on Saturday it was stunning.
“His positions are always good. David Beckham and Steven Gerrard are two of the best crossers I have seen on the right side in the Premier League. He matches them in terms of the quality he delivers – and that is high praise. He does things that they did just as well.”