Wales legend Gunter joins Page's staff for start of Euro 2024 qualifying campaign
WALES legend Chris Gunter has joined Robert Page’s management team for the start of the Euro 2024 qualifiers.
The 33-year-old from Newport retired from international football earlier this month after winning 109 caps and being part of last year’s World Cup squad.
The defender, who is currently playing for AFC Wimbledon, will help out Page for the games against Croatia in Split on Saturday and Latvia in Cardiff on Tuesday.
The Football Association of Wales state that it is “in a supporting role” and is “seen as part of a transition into future coaching work”.
The Dons haven’t won since January but should have enough points to avoid being dragged into a League Two relegation scrap.
Gunter has made 32 appearances this season – and set up Wimbledon’s goal in the 1-1 draw against Newport County AFC last week – but will miss their fixtures against Barrow and Walsall.
“It had been pre-agreed with the club that Chris would be allowed to fulfil his wish to pursue coaching opportunities with Wales,” read a Dons statement. “We wish Chris every success in his new role.”
Meanwhile, Wales are sweating on the fitness of in-form Nottingham Forest forward Brennan Johnson for the double-header.
Johnson suffered a groin injury during Forest’s 3-1 defeat at Tottenham on March 11.
The 21-year-old – who has scored seven goals since returning from the World Cup in December – played the full 90 minutes against Newcastle on Friday, despite Forest boss Steve Cooper saying before the game that it was “unlikely he will be involved”.
“Brennan Johnson is due to join on Thursday for further assessment with the medical team,” Wales posted on their official Twitter account.
Cardiff forward Mark Harris, part of Wales’ World Cup squad, and Swansea striker Liam Cullen have both been called into manager Rob Page’s party.
Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey has withdrawn from the squad through injury and returned to his club Nottingham Forest.
Former Newport County AFC stopper Tom King, who has been included in a number of squads but is uncapped, has been added as cover.
Wales are already without vice-captain Ben Davies after the Tottenham defender suffered a suspected hamstring injury in the 3-3 draw at Southampton on Saturday.