Wales v Netherlands: Chris Gunter grateful for John Toshack 'faith'

Chris Gunter
Chris Gunter has played for Cardiff City, Spurs and Nottingham Forest
Friendly international: Wales v Netherlands
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium Date: Friday, 13 November Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two Wales and online, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Wales defender Chris Gunter says he and a number of other players are indebted to former manager John Toshack for showing faith in them at a young age.

Toshack gave international debuts to Gunter, Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey and others during his time in charge.

Gunter, 26, is set to win his 64th cap against the Netherlands on Friday and recognises Toshack's contribution to Wales' development.

"He put a lot of faith into a lot of young players," Gunter said.

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"He got the ball rolling and you're always grateful to managers that hand you debuts, certainly at a young age.

"We've been fortunate at Wales that every manager since him has taken it on and Chris Coleman has been the one to deliver the ultimate dream [of qualifying for a major tournament]."

Gunter, who played every minute of every game as Wales qualified for Euro 2016, will equal Ryan Giggs's haul of 64 caps if he features against the Netherlands.

The Reading defender made his Wales debut as a 17-year-old in a 2-2 friendly draw against New Zealand at Wrexham in May 2007, Giggs's penultimate game for his country.

John Toshack
Former Real Madrid coach John Toshack had two spells in charge of Wales (1994 and 2004-2010)

"It's always a proud moment, whether it's your first cap or your 64th, to play for Wales," Gunter added, who is the most-capped player in the current squad and could become the first Welshman to win 100 caps.

"When I retire it will be fantastic to look back on how many caps I end up on.

"But that night in Bosnia and that night against Andorra will be the ones that stand out."

Toshack's six-year tenure in charge from 2004 to 2010 offered few highlights in terms of results, but the 66-year-old has been credited for playing a key role in the current success.

A number of senior players retired during Toshack's time in charge, which gave him little option but to blood a number of youngsters.

He made Bale the youngest Wales international by selecting him for a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago in 2006 at the age of 16.

Seven of the team that started Wales' final Euro 2016 qualifier against Andorra in October were given their debuts by Toshack, who now manages Wydad Casablanca in Morocco's top flight.

As a player, Toshack also benefited from being given a chance at an early age, making his debut as a 16-year-old for Cardiff City in 1965.

And his 50 years in football will be celebrated in a special programme on BBC Radio Wales on Wednesday.

Listen to a special celebration of John Toshack's 50 years in football on Radio Wales Sport on Wednesday, 11 November from 19:00 GMT, available on the BBC iPlayer

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