He has also fallen down the pecking order following the rapid emergence of George North and Alex Cuthbert.
But James, once dubbed 'the Merthyr Express', is desperate to hit the ground running for the Blues this season in order to earn further international honours.
"I've been devastated to miss out with Wales. I always want to be involved and score those tries but when someone like Alex comes along and does so well you can only take your cap off to them," said the 25-year-old.
"He has come along but Shane has retired and Mark Jones retired a few years ago.
"A lot of it comes down to being at the right place at the right time.
"I had a good start to last season but had a bit of bad luck with injuries, it took a couple of games to get fit and the autumn internationals were gone. Then I scored four tries against Harlequins but did my hamstring and was unavailable for the Six Nations.
"But right now I feel perfect, it's the best I've felt in six years. I want to be back in that Welsh squad and have that No.11 shirt. I'm always hungry but this is the hungriest I've been."
James reckons the current pre-season training at the Blues, under new head coach Phil Davies, is the toughest he's ever experienced.
And he hopes it will pay dividends for both the Cardiff-based region and his own international ambitions.
""I've been with the Blues for six years and this is the toughest pre-season we've had," added James. "It's tougher than the athletics training I used to do - like 800m training.
"Phil wants us to be the fittest team in the league. We always been fit and thrown the ball around but this year will be even better.
"Wales select on form, I have the physicality they like and with the pre-season I've had I should be flying right from the start."