Winter World Cup will leave players fearing injuries in build-up, says Wales' Dan James

·2 min read

For the first time in the tournament's history, the World Cup will be played in the winter this year.

The Qatar showpiece was moved to the winter to accomodate for the nation's scorching weather during the summertime, but it's meant that it lands directly in the middle of football's domestic season. Starting in November, the opening World Cup matches take place just nine days after a round of Premier League fixtures, and Wales forward Dan James believes that such a small break will leave players extra wary of picking up injuries in the lead up to the event. "It's a tough one because we've got a Premier League game something like the week before (the World Cup)," said the Leeds United forward. "So I think everyone is concentrating on being fit for that tournament. It's going to be a little bit weird being in the middle of the season.

Dan James
Dan James

"You go from playing in the Premier League to the next week playing in a World Cup. There's no time for a game in between there. "It's a strange one. Usually you probably have two or three weeks before you go away, but in that last (Premier League) game going into the World Cup, players are going to be wary of it. "But you've just got to concentrate on each game that comes and keep yourself as fit as you can." James may well include himself in the category of players wanting to avoid injury after he helped Wales to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 64 years. Just two weeks after James helped Leeds United avoid relegation to the Championship, he joined up with the national team and helped them to a 1-0 win over Ukraine to confirm their spot in the tournament.

"Yeah, what an amazing summer," he said. "To qualify for the World Cup, for the players, for the country, having not qualified for 64 years. "We're one of the smallest nations to ever qualify for the World Cup, so it's a massive achievement for us all. "I wouldn't say it's a one-off. A lot of people have written us off. We were in that category when we qualified for the Euros. "I wasn't involved then, but we've put ourselves on the world stage now and no-one can knock us off that." Wales' opening World Cup fixture comes at 19:00 BST on November 21, when they line-up against United States for their Group B showdown.

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