Former Spurs defender Gunter announces retirement

Former Wales defender Chris Gunter has brought an end to his playing career.

AFC Wimbledon’s Gunter, 33, has announced his decision to retire two months after quitting international football, having won 109 caps.

The former Cardiff City and Tottenham full-back has already begun coaching with Wales and will take on an official role this summer.

“I’m announcing my retirement from professional football at the end of this season,” Gunter said on Instagram.

“I feel incredibly fortunate and blessed to have enjoyed the highs and lows of the past 17/18 years.

“Over 720 games have brought many challenges and opportunities which through all of it I’ve always given my absolute all.

“Thank you to all the managers who believed in me and all the players I’ve been fortunate to share the dressing room with.

“None of it would have been possible without the support of my family from the moment I started playing football. They’ve followed and supported my journey every step of the way.”

Newport-born Gunter came through the ranks at Cardiff City before moving to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008.

He made only a dozen appearances for Spurs before a loan spell at Nottingham Forest became a permanent move in 2009.

Joining Reading for £2.3m in 2012, Gunter spent eight years with the Berkshire club before moving to Charlton Athletic in 2020 and then joining Wimbledon last summer.

He played 30 League Two games in 2022-23 along with two EFL Trophy matches, an FA Cup tie and one game in the EFL Cup.

Gunter won his first Wales cap as a teenager in 2007 and became the first male player to win a century of Wales caps.

A huge favourite with supporters, he helped the national team qualify for Euro 2016 – where they famously reached the semi-finals – Euro 2020 and last year’s World Cup.

Although included in Robert Page’s squad for Qatar 2022, Gunter did not take to the field during Wales unsuccessful group campaign.

His last international appearances came against Poland and Netherlands in the Nations League in June 2022.

After calling time on his international career earlier this year, Gunter joined Page’s Wales coaching staff for March’s Euro 2024 qualifiers, and he will now join the Wales coaching staff as a national team development coach.

“I feel ready and excited for the next chapter of my career,” Gunter said.

“I’m hugely thankful to the FAW [Football Association of Wales], and Robert Page especially. Having completed my coaching badges, I will begin my new role from the summer.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to work alongside Rob and the staff.”

The FAW’s chief football officer Dr David Adams said: “We are delighted to welcome Chris into our technical team as a development coach, his experiences will add huge value to our young players who transition into our men’s senior squad.”

(BBC Sport)

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