Daniel James will emerge from his tough time at Manchester United a stronger player says his Wales manager Ryan Giggs.
Speedy winger James hit the ground running at Old Trafford following his £18million move, including add-ons, from Swansea in June 2019.
James scored three goals in his first four games as a United player but managed only one more in his next 42 appearances as his early-season form faded.
The 22-year-old started just one Premier League game when football returned after the coronavirus lockdown in June and was regularly singled out for criticism on social media platforms.
But Giggs is expected to hand James a starting role in Wales’ Nations League opener against Finland in Helsinki on Thursday and believes he will actually benefit from his time out of the United spotlight.
“Dan didn’t play as much towards the end of the season, but sometimes in the long run that can help you,” Giggs said.
“He might not like it (being out of the team) and might want to be involved.
“But knowing Dan, the way he trains and his attitude, he will come through and be all the better for it. You can have a different perspective of things.”
James was ever-present in Euro 2020 qualification as Wales reached next summer’s delayed pan-European finals.
But his starting place was under threat for this week’s double header against Finland and Bulgaria, with David Brooks named in the squad for the first time in 15 months.
Bournemouth forward Brooks, however, has since withdrawn from the squad with an ankle injury and James should feature in a front three with skipper Gareth Bale and targetman Kieffer Moore.
“I think sometimes the players that don’t necessarily play all the time for their clubs, it gives them a chance to get some minutes,” Giggs said.
“It is a chance to try and get some form to go back to their clubs and show them what they can do.
“Perhaps DJ is in that camp. United start a week later, but DJ will turn up fit and raring to go, I’m sure.
“He has always been great when he has come into camp, he has always turned up in the right frame of mind.”
Wales have issues at the back with Ashley Williams, Chris Mepham and Joe Rodon all absent for one reason or another.
Liverpool full-back Neco Williams and Swansea centre-half Ben Cabango could both make their senior debuts this week.
“I am excited by these two new good talents,” Giggs said. “There’s an eye on winning the games, but also a definite eye on the summer and building for the future.
“First of all we’re dealing with the here and now, but we also have one eye on the Euros.
“I’ve always said if everyone’s fit that it will be a nightmare picking that 23 next summer, and it’s getting harder with the likes of Ben and Neco coming into the frame as well.”