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Daniel James: Ryan Giggs urges referees to protect Wales and Man Utd winger

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Ryan Giggs (left) congratulates Daniel James on his first Wales goal in March’s 1-0 win over Slovakia

Wales manager Ryan Giggs has defended Daniel James and urged referees to protect him after the Manchester United winger was booked for diving.

James, 21, was cautioned following a challenge from Joao Moutinho during Monday’s draw at Wolves.

Giggs, himself a former Wales and United winger, believes such incidents are inevitable because opponents often target the extraordinarily quick James.

“The speed he’s going at it can look worse,” said Giggs.

“Sometimes when you anticipate it, it can look like a dive.

“You’ve seen he gets kicked a lot. He gets a lot of stick and referees need to protect him, but I’m not worried.”

Monday night’s Premier League draw at Wolves was James’ first start for United following his £15m summer move from Swansea City.

In what was an otherwise bright performance, the yellow card brought to mind the bookings that James’ Wales team-mate Gareth Bale received earlier in his career.

During his time at Tottenham, Bale was shown several yellow cards for simulation and spoke out against what he perceived to be unfair treatment from referees.

“I think when you are a front player or a wide player you are going to get kicked, and Dan does get kicked a lot,” Giggs added.

“I think it’s a tough job for referees but when you try and anticipate it, it can look worse than it is.”

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Before the match at Wolves, James had already made an excellent first impression at Old Trafford, coming off the bench to score United’s fourth goal in their 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea on the opening weekend of the season.

James has been included in Wales’ squad for next month’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Azerbaijan, and Giggs hopes to have the former Hull trainee in similarly flying form in Cardiff.

“He’s done fantastic. I was at the game where he scored and even before that he was in a couple of times,” Giggs said.

“What I’ve said to my players, you’ve got to play the ball as quick as you can because his movement is very good.

“It takes time for his team-mates to develop that relationship because his movement is so quick. As a midfielder I wouldn’t have minded playing behind a player like that. It’s fantastic, scoring as well.”

Bale’s ‘strange’ situation

Following the omission of regular skipper Ashley Williams, Wales’ captain against Azerbaijan will be Bale.

The Real Madrid forward has endured a tumultuous few months and, after his club manager Zinedine Zidane said it would be “better for everyone” if Bale left, he seemed destined to depart.

But after a move to the Chinese Super League fell through in July, Bale has reclaimed his place in the Real side and started in their opening La Liga fixture against Celta Vigo last weekend.

“Everyone thought it didn’t quite look right but now it looks like they have sorted their differences out and he’s playing,” said Giggs.

“I kept in touch with him, not every day but just to see if he was alright. It’s obviously positive at the moment. He played at the weekend and did really well and it looks like he’s staying now.

“I’ve always said he’s at a fantastic club but probably a couple of weeks ago we wouldn’t have seen this situation.

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

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