On Tuesday evening, Leeds United’s Dan James will line up against the likes of Kieran Trippier and Harry Maguire as the Red Dragons seize one last chance to try and secure qualification from Group B.
At their first World Cup finals in nearly 70 years, Wales must beat the Three Lions in order to progress. If they beat England by fewer than four goals, then the USA and Iran must tie in order for Rob Page’s side to gain a place in the last 16.
Here are 11 of the best Welsh players to appear for Leeds United over the years:
1. John Charles
The legendary player moved to Yorkshire aged 17 after being scouted by Leeds United. Making nearly 300 appearances for the Whites and excelling in several positions, Charles is widely considered one of the game’s greatest players. The West Stand, which was rebuilt after a fire using funds raised by Charles’ sale to Juventus, is named after the Cwmbwrla man. Up until his death, Charles was a regular visitor to Elland Road.
2. Terry Yorath
Joining the Whites as an apprentice aged 17 in 1967, Yorath bided his time for a spot in Don Revie’s side. It was worth the wait - Yorath made just shy of 200 appearances for United and became the first Welshman to play in a European Cup final in 1973. The former Wales captain was sold to Coventry City for £125,000 in 1976.
3. Gary Sprake
The Swansea-born shot-stopper held the number one shirt for over a decade of Leeds United’s golden era. Sprake is the 10th most prolific Whites player of all time and kept 200 clean sheets across his 500+ appearances. After losing the gloves to David Harvey his relationship with Don Revie went awry, prompting Sprake to depart for Birmingham City in 1973 in the hopes of regaining his place in the Welsh national team.
4. Carl Harris
Harris’ Leeds United career would have been cut short by a severe case of homesickness were it not for the intervention of fellow Welshman John Charles. A week after signing, Charles followed Harris to South Wales to successfully coax him back to West Yorkshire, where Harris made his Whites debut three days before turning 18. The winger made 176 appearances for Leeds before moving to Charlton Athletic in a £100k transfer in 1982.
5. Vinnie Jones
The midfielder’s Leeds United career was short but sweet; he appeared in all but one league games of the Whites’ Second Division-winning season helping United to play top flight football for the first time in eight years.
6. Harold Williams
The then Leeds United manager Frank Buckley spotted Williams amid the Newport County team that knocked the Whites out of the 1949 FA Cup and paid £12,000 to bring him to West Yorkshire. The Briton Ferry-born winger was pacey, creative and combined well with compatriot John Charles to make goals for United. Williams ran a pub in Morley after retiring and stayed in Leeds until he died until 2013.