'We do everything together' Why friendships in the Welsh camp could be crucial to World Cup success
Watch: ITV Wales Sports reporter Matt Southcombe interviews Connor Roberts and Daniel James
Not only are Connor Roberts and Daniel James about to be part of the first Wales side to compete at a World Cup in 64 years, they’re about to do it with their mates.
Much has been made - and said - of the close bond that exists between the players in the Wales squad, extending far beyond the pitch.
When captain Gareth Bale was enduring a tumultuous end to his time at Real Madrid, international camps in Wales were framed as a sort of safe haven for one of the game’s greatest ever players.
At their team base in Hensol, players have smiles on their faces, they enjoy coming to work.
It’s a desirable narrative from a public relations standpoint, but it is genuine.
Though Roberts is slightly older, he and James have enjoyed similar careers to date and formed their relationship during their formative years at Swansea City.
And similar relationships permeate throughout the national camp.
“We all sit together, eat together, we do everything together when we’re in camp,” Roberts told ITV Wales.
“For me to see DJ [James] and Joe Rodon do really well, having seen them growing up playing for Swansea City – I’m not doing too bad – but to see my mates doing brilliantly, being a part of something amazing and playing for their country, is something special.”
James added: “There are obviously certain groups but we all get along with each other well and it’s so important because going into a tournament like this, you need to be able to trust people and be able to tell people straight, maybe when they’re not working hard.
“All the boys can do that because we’ve got good relationships.”
Wales have now arrived in Qatar and are settling into their new surroundings, with their opening match against the USA just three days away.
The USA are just above Wales in the FIFA World Rankings, as are fellow group opponents England. The fourth team in the group, Iran, are just one place above Wales, making it one of the tightest groups in the tournament.
Roberts, though, is not concerned.
“It’s going to be three tough games and they’ve got players who can do things, as have we,” he said. “I’m sure if our best players, DJ in particular, turn up then we can go far.”