Leeds United man raring to go for 'massive' six weeks and Championship run-in as half-century in sight

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Leeds United winger Dan James is raring to go for Wales’ crucial Euro 2024 play-off semi-final against Finland this evening - whilst keeping one eye on the Championship run-in.

The 26-year-old welcomed the birth of his second child last week before adding his 12th goal of the season in Leeds’ 2-0 victory over Millwall, celebrating as footballers often do with the customary thumb-sucking gesture.

It’ll be anything but child’s play for the next six weeks, though, starting with this evening’s meeting between Wales and Finland at the Cardiff City Stadium. Rob Page’s side joined up earlier this week, although James admitted he was hopeful of firstly spending a few days with his new arrival, to prepare for the encounter against club-mate Glen Kamara and his fellow Finns.

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James has represented Wales at major tournaments before, called up for the European Championships three summers ago and the winter World Cup in Qatar midway through last season. A third straight tournament appearance would be unprecedented for the nation, this time attempting to do so without the aid of one-time Galactico Gareth Bale.

“We've only got four days before the first game comes around pretty quick and the manager obviously likes to get the players in early because it’s such an important game to get to know the opposition and get the players together again to gel before the game

“[We’re] obviously feeling confident. It's not going to be an easy game. I think it's good that we have the home tie but you know we’ve played them before, they’re not an easy team to beat.”

Upon returning to Thorp Arch next week, James and his hat-trick of Welsh Leeds-mates will be thrust almost immediately back into the thick of a highly competitive Championship title race.

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“Friday night game again straight away, I think it’ll be good for us, have an early game and just be comfortable going into it,” he told reporters.

“It’s nice to go into this international break with a win but we can’t get carried away. There’s still eight games to go, eight massive games, and we’ll be looking forward to it after this break,” James added.

The former Manchester United and Swansea City winger is set to win his 50th Wales cap tonight, a feat Ampadu is also expected to achieve.

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