Daniel James will fly to Finland separately from Wales squad

Wales have been forced to make alternative travel arrangements for Daniel James to join them in Finland after the winger moved from Manchester United to Leeds.

James, 23, left the Wales squad on Tuesday to undergo a medical at Elland Road before completing a reported £25million transfer plus add-ons.

Wales play Finland in a Helsinki friendly on Wednesday, ahead of 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Estonia, and interim manager Robert Page insists James will rejoin his squad ahead of that game after the transfer was confirmed.

Rob Page has seen his preparations for Wales' camp affected
Rob Page has seen his preparations for Wales’ camp affected (PA)

“He was on camp and I have to be flexible with the players,” Page said at his pre-match press conference.

“I can’t say he can’t leave. We’re still waiting to find out what’s happening with that situation, but he’ll be rejoining the camp and will be in Finland.

“There’s not enough time to get him back into the camp from where he is. So we’ll make other arrangements and the most important thing is he is with us.”

James almost moved to Leeds before joining Manchester United from Swansea in June 2019 for a £15m fee, with a potential £3m in add-ons.

Daniel James is reportedly close to joining Leeds
Daniel James is reportedly close to joining Leeds (Clive Brunskill/PA)

The speedster made 74 appearances, scoring nine goals, but his game-time at Old Trafford was due to be severely impacted by the return of Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

“It’s completely the right decision for my football career. I had an unbelievable time (at Manchester United) – made great friends, the staff and fans were amazing to me – but it’s my time to move on,” James told Sky Sports.

“I’ve got games under my belt at top level and think I can add something here.

“I want to go away for my country which I always love to do. I’m thankful to the manager (Page) for letting me come here and get everything sorted.

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“I’ll be meeting up with them later and getting a flight out there.”

James played fewer than 40 games for Swansea before moving to Old Trafford. He almost joined Leeds in January 2019 but Swansea called the deal off at the last minute.

Page said: “He got his move to Man United, a massive club, and was outstanding – probably one of the bright sparks throughout that time they were having.

“What you find with young players, understandably, they go through spells of inconsistency. One minute they can be 10/10 and the next they can be a five or a six.

“He’s been told he can leave and he’s potentially got himself a move to a club that wants him.

Daniel James leaves the field after being substituted at Wolves
Daniel James leaves the field after being substituted at Wolves (Nick Potts/PA)

“We all like confidence, we all like being told we’re doing well.”

Page said others members of his squad could be affected by deadline-day transfer activity but Wales would enforce a cut-off point before heading to Helsinki.

“We might get a couple of calls now, but there comes a point when we’ve got to think of ourselves and think what’s best for the players,” Page said.

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“We’ve got two big World Cup qualifiers coming up and a friendly. We’re travelling this afternoon and there’ll come a cut-off point when we say enough is enough.”

Wales have been disrupted by injury, visa and coronavirus issues before their three games.

Aaron Ramsey, George Thomas, Joe Rodon and Neco Williams all withdraw from the squad on Monday through injury.

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David Brooks joined them on Tuesday when it was discovered that he had jarred a knee playing for Bournemouth at Hull on Saturday.

Brandon Cooper, Ethan Ampadu and Tyler Roberts, will miss the Belarus qualifier, which has been switched to Kazan because of political reasons, because they were unable to get their Russian visa approved in time.

There was more bad news on Tuesday when Stoke goalkeeper Adam Davies tested positive for Covid-19 and forward Kieffer Moore was identified as a close contact, ruling them both out of the three games.