Aaron Ramsey: Chris Gunter defends teammate from Arsenal fan criticism

Aaron Ramsey
Aaron Ramsey in action for Arsenal in their last match, a 3-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion
World Cup qualifier: Republic of Ireland v Wales
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Friday, 24 March Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

Chris Gunter has defended his Wales team-mate Aaron Ramsey following criticism from Arsenal fans.

Midfielder Ramsey has been jeered by Gunners supporters and singled out by disgruntled celebrity followers such as Piers Morgan during the club's recent poor form.

But Gunter, who was Ramsey's best man at his wedding, believes his friend will be unaffected by the vitriol.

"He is fine, it's not something that bothers him," said Gunter.

"He doesn't need to prove himself to anyone, and the stuff wouldn't bother Aaron because you find out very quickly in football who to listen to.

"The only people you need to impress are your team-mates and your manager and everything else going around it, you take and it changes every week.

"Piers Morgan is not in football, is he?

"Anybody like that you have to separate, especially in this day and age with social media everybody wants followers, views, likes and this type of stuff and how much is somebody like that just doing it for the attention?

"For Aaron it doesn't bother me because we all get stick at certain times. I have had it and he has certainly had it over the years."

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Wales: Chris Gunter, record breaker?

Miss him when he's gone

Injuries mean Ramsey has featured only once for Wales in their four 2018 World Cup qualifiers to date.

But the 26-year-old is fit and poised to start in Friday's crucial fixture against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.

"People always say with Aaron 'We could have done with Aaron in that game' and sometimes with certain players you realise how good they are when you haven't got them," Gunter added.

"I think people take Aaron for granted in terms of the things he does with the ball and the things he sees and the passes he plays and when he isn't on the pitch.

"We haven't really got anyone like him to do that then you realise even more and we are a much better team with him in it."

Gunter's caps landmark

If he plays in Dublin, Gunter will join Craig Bellamy in joint-third place on the all-time list of Welsh cap holders with 78 appearances.

Still only 27 years old, the Reading full-back has been tipped to become the first Welshman to win 100 caps, which would take him past Neville Southall and Gary Speed at the top of the charts.

"It's fantastic. Before you get your first one or two you never think years down the line," Gunter said.

"If you had said to me on the day of the first cap I would go onto equal or go past certain players I would never think that. It's a massive honour to be ahead of a lot of players that I remember watching on TV.

Chris Gunter (centre) with Aaron Ramsey (left) and Gareth Bale (right)
Chris Gunter (centre) with Aaron Ramsey (left) and Gareth Bale (right)

"But that feeling when you are in the line-up and the anthem is being played is a feeling you don't get anywhere else in football. There's nothing you can get for that.

"To do it once is special. To do it repeatedly over and over is something I never take for granted.

"You never like to look back in football. I'm sure the day I have played my last game for Wales will be one I look back with massive pride."

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