Albania vs Wales - Chris Gunter to set Wales record in friendly against Albania

Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2018 by PA

Albania vs Wales - Chris Gunter to set Wales record in friendly against Albania

Chris Gunter is set to become Wales’ most-capped player on Tuesday after manager Ryan Giggs confirmed the Reading full-back will start against Albania in Elbasan.

The 29-year-old will make his 93rd appearance for his country, eclipsing former goalkeeper Neville Southall’s 92-cap mark.

Gunter said: “I never thought I’d get here. It means an awful lot.

“It’s fantastic when you achieve something as an individual, but when you do it with team-mates it’s an honour to do it with them.

“They’ve been there in difficult moments and I feel very honoured to be here.”

Wales’ final game of 2017 comes after the disappointment of a 2-1 home defeat to Denmark and missing out on a place in the top tier of the Nations League.

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale has, to the surprise of some sections of the Spanish media, made the 3,000-plus mile round trip to Albania.

The European champions are back in LaLiga action at Eibar on Saturday, and many might have expected Bale to miss the friendly.

But Giggs said: “There’s no concern over (upsetting) Madrid. Gareth is in good hands.

“He always wants to play for his country and he wants to be here for Chris (Gunter) on what will be a special night.

“All those things mean it’s great he’s here and it gives everyone a lift when he’s in the squad. No one has ever doubted his commitment to Wales.”

Wales captain Ashley Williams has apologised for his “mugs” remark about Cardiff supporters before the Denmark game.

Former Swansea defender Williams was caught on camera mocking Bluebirds’ fans when looking at a picture in the players’ tunnel at the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday.

But Williams said he made the comment when engaged in “banter” with Wales’ Cardiff physiotherapist Sean Connelly.

“It’s obviously disappointing, but it was not meant how it came out,” Williams said.

“There was a bit of banter between me and Sean who has been Cardiff physio for ages.

“It was obviously picked up but I didn’t mean to cause any offence.

“We have that banter in the squad all the time and it was just picked up this time. Apologies if it caused offence to anyone.”

Albania were on the wrong end of a 4-0 hammering at home to Scotland which secured their relegation by finishing bottom of Group C1.

Having beaten Israel in the first game of the group, Christian Panucci’s side have lost their last three Nations League games.

The manager has come under pressure as a result of recent performances.

Speaking through an interpreter after the Scotland game, Panucci said: “If the president of the federation doesn’t believe in me it is up for negotiations.

“You have to leave the players alone, is it totally my fault. I have tried to change the line-up so everything is my fault.”

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