Paul Pogba tipped Wales to be a Euro 2020 dark horse after friendly with France, reveals Man Utd team-mate Daniel James
PAUL POGBA has tipped Wales to once again be the dark horses at the Euros this summer.
Back in 2016, Chris Coleman led the Dragons on a fairytale journey to the semi-finals – where they were beaten by eventual winners Portugal.
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Not many people will fancy their chances of repeating that run as they kick off their campaign against Switzerland in Baku on Saturday.
But Pogba told his Manchester United team-mate Dan James that he thinks Wales can surprise a few people again.
The France star got a close up view of Robert Page’s squad in a friendly between the nations in Nice last week.
And James said: “I spoke to Paul after the game and he said ‘we’ve got a great team and we’ve got a great chance,’ which is always great to hear.
“We fully believe in ourselves. We are here for a reason – we are not just here to take part.
“We believe we can go into every game with that winning mentality.”
The two Old Trafford pals were snapped together during the game which ended in a 3-0 win for the World Cup winners.
In the picture, Pogba appears to be looking quizzically at James – who has a big grin on his face.
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The former Swansea man said: “It’s one of those untold photos where we just had a conversation.
“I think we were both laughing but they caught him on the picture where he is not and he is just looking at me strangely.
“I will have to ask him what was going on in that picture.”
James has struggled to hold down a regular starting spot since moving to Old Trafford two years ago.
But he believes playing alongside players like Pogba has helped him develop.
He added: “I think I like that kind of added pressure. It helps me as a player. I’ve got to learn with that, I’ve got to deal with situations like that all the time.
“Playing in pressurised games always helps but I try not to put too much pressure on myself. I don’t think there’s any need to.
“You can let the game can get to you if you put too much pressure on yourself.
“It’s such a big jump. If you look at any career and the progression levels. You want to take little steps but I took that big step – it was one I could never turn down.
“Maybe I played a little bit more than I thought I would the first year. I’ve kept learning from that.
“I think there are always stages in your career – if you look at everyone – where you might take that little dip but I’d like to think my all-round game is a lot better now.
“I’ve learnt so much and have been working on most things every day, learning off players in my position and doing the best I can to be ready for tournaments like this.”
Although he was born in Humberside, his late father Kevan was Welsh and there was never any doubt who his son would play for.
Asked if there was ever an approach from the Three Lions, he said: “I can’t say there was. I was always Wales.
“I went to my first camp when I was 12 in north Wales.
“My dad took me to it so I've been throughout the whole system which quite a few of the boys have been, Harry [Wilson], Joe Morrell, from very young.”
He added: “For Euro 2016, I was in Marbella at the time. I watched it out there, I was on holiday.
“It was crazy really. The expectations were never to get that far. It was just brilliant to watch and we can take that into this tournament.”
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