Ryan Giggs says Daniel James’ United medical has not hampered Wales preparation
Wales manager Ryan Giggs insists Daniel James’ impending move to Manchester United has not disrupted preparations for their Euro 2020 qualifier against Croatia.
James was at United’s Carrington training ground on Thursday morning ahead of his transfer from Swansea, just hours before Wales flew to Osijek for Saturday’s meeting with the World Cup finalists.
The 21-year-old winger is set to complete the switch, which is understood to be in the region of £18million, including add-ons, next week after Wales’ Euro 2020 qualifier in Hungary.
“We had a relaxed day on Thursday,” Giggs said when asked if James’ United medical had forced him to miss training.
“That’s how we structured the week, to get the work in early and then Thursday was just a case of going through a few things.”
Giggs was clear last week that he did not want any of his players involved in contract talks with clubs ahead of Wales’ Euro 2020 double-header with Croatia and Hungary.
But Giggs said at his press-match conference in Osijek: “You have to be flexible because you don’t want things weighing on players’ minds.
“So if it’s sorted it’s better for us and for the player as well. He’s fine and he’s trained well. Obviously after the terrible news (the recent death of his father Kevan) we had to be flexible.
“A lot has gone on over the last 10 days, but Dan has been fine around the group.
“We’ll have to see whether he starts for us but, if it (transfer) does happen then United are getting an exciting player that I know that Man United fans will get behind and enjoy watching.”
Giggs confirmed at Osijek’s Stadion Gradski vrt that Ben Davies is available for both Euro 2020 qualifiers after his groin surgery was postponed.
It had been previously thought that the Tottenham full-back would only play against Croatia.
Wales start the game as big underdogs given Croatia’s exemplary home record.
Croatia have never lost a European Championship qualifier at home since their first match in the competition in 1994. They have also gone 23 home games unbeaten in all competitions.
Wales also have to contend with the fierce heat in Osijek, with the temperature expected to be around 30 degrees when the game kicks-off at 3pm local time.
“It’s hard to prepare,” Giggs said. “The weather wasn’t quite like this in Wrexham!
“We went to Portugal for some heat and the breeze cooled it down a little bit. We’ve got to make the right preparations and give the players the right information on hydrating.
“It’s an old school stadium. It has a big history and it’s always a big challenge when you come away, especially against World Cup finalists and a team which has players like (Luka) Modric.
“I was talking to Chris Mepham on the way here about my experiences as a player. The first time I went to Galatasaray as a player we were welcomed at the airport with a sign which said ‘Welcome to hell’ and there were 5,000 people there.
“You know it’s going to be a challenge, but it’s our job to silence that and turn that into pressure on the home team.”