Dan James has dedicated his World Cup campaign to his much-missed father after being picked in the Wales squad for their first finals appearance in 64 years.
The on-loan Leeds winger, who scored his first Fulham goal in Sunday’s gut-wrenching defeat at the hands of Manchester United, has told BBC Wales that his owes his international career to his dad, who sadly passed away in 2019. Kevan James emailed the FAW to tell them that his son, then playing for Hull City, was eligible to play for Wales and his involvement in a north Wales camp prompted Swansea to sign the talented winger for their academy aged sixteen.
James’ father did see his son score on his international debut against Slovakia and Dan admits that, whenever he pulls on the famous red jersey, he thinks of his dad.
“It was an emotional one. I was so glad that he got to see me playing for Wales. He didn’t get to see me in the Euros and he won’t get to see me in the World Cup, but I’m sure he will be looking down and be incredibly proud. He was only able to do that because he emailed the person to say that he was Welsh and that I qualified to play for Wales, otherwise I would not have been in the set-up.
He was the one that let me go down to Swansea to play for them. It was hard for my mum and my dad to let me go because they wouldn’t see me as much, but I wouldn’t be here today without that. Every time I sing the national anthem it’s very emotional, but after you have got to come back down to earth because you have got a game to play.
The Wales fans will be out there. That is massive for us because they weren’t at the last Euros unfortunately. I am just glad that they can come and support us.”