Wales players desperate for Coleman stay – Gunter

Date published: Sunday 27th March 2016 9:23 - Mark Holmes

Chris Coleman: Keen to ensure players are happy

Chris Gunter is desperately hoping Chris Coleman extends his contract to lead Wales beyond this summer’s European Championship.

feels it would be “crazy” for Wales to lose manager Chris Coleman after

Coleman’s current deal expires after Euro 2016 and the 45-year-old has opened talks on a new deal.

But the former Fulham and Real Sociedad boss said he was “apart” from the Football Association of Wales after those initial discussions.

Talks will resume following Wales’ friendly against Ukraine in Kiev on Monday, and Gunter said it was imperative that a new deal was agreed for Coleman to lead Wales into the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

“I’m sure if you asked every player they would love the manager to stay,” said Gunter.

“I’m sure the FA are doing everything they can to make sure he stays, because it would be crazy if we lost our manager after what’s happened over the last two years.

“His record and what he’s done stands alone of what we’ve achieved. He’s been a bigger part of that than probably any single player.

“I’ve seen the quotes where he said it won’t affect the summer, and he’s right because all focus will be on the tournament.

“But hopefully he is the man to lead us to try and qualify for the World Cup after that.

“What he’s done and the respect he has from every single player is unique.

“I’ve never seen a group of players where every single one respects the manager as we do.”

Wales head to Kiev on the back of Thursday’s 1-1 home draw with Northern Ireland when Coleman’s depleted side were only spared defeat by Simon Church’s last-minute penalty.

The absence of Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey loomed large, but Gunter revealed the pair had been in touch since Wales’ final home game before Euro 2016.

“They’ve been texting and if there was any way they would have shown their face I’m sure they would have,” said Gunter.

“When they’ve not been here in the past they’ve always come down.

“Gaz has had a little one, so it’s not the best time for him to come. But they don’t miss any games if they have to.

“It will be good to have them back in the summer, but it’s a chance to learn without them if they’re not there in the future for any reason.”

Playing at Kiev’s 70,000-capacity Olympic Stadium represents a daunting challenge for a Wales side once more deprived of Bale and Ramsey.

But the experienced Gunter believes the fixture, designed to replicate the Euro 2016 challenge coming their way from Russia, will put Wales’ youngsters in good stead beyond this summer’s tournament.

“Sometimes these games are a little bit edgy and the tempo and intensity of a game somewhere like Ukraine will be good for us,” said Gunter.

“A few boys in the squad will not have experienced it before and it will be good for them, not only in the summer but going forward beyond.

“These are the games that can help and our spirit started from certain games when we were in sticky situations with our backs to the wall.

“When you’re standing next to each other all wanting the exact same thing, that’s the real measure of team spirit.

“You look back at Serbia [when Wales lost a World Cup qualifier 6-1 in September 2012] and, though I wouldn’t say it helped us for the next few months, if you can overcome those experiences at some point then you are better for it.

“I couldn’t put into words how that defeat felt, but we’ve come through that and difficult circumstances in blocks of game.

“That breeds team spirit as well as being boys who get on well off the pitch and have a laugh.

“I think having both is unique and when you go back to your club and people ask how you do it, well, I think that’s special for an international team.”

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