By Phil Blanche, PA Sport
Chris Gunter, Wales’ second most capped men’s player, has retired from international football.
Gunter won 109 caps for his country, a figure surpassed only in the men’s game by Gareth Bale’s total of 111 appearances.
“I’ve had the privilege of representing our great country for 15 years, and it’s given me some of the best times of my career and my life,” Gunter, 33, said in a statement on his personal Twitter account.
— Chris Gunter (@Chrisgunter16) March 9, 2023
“To all of the managers I’ve played under, and all of the staff who have helped me in many different ways, I have so much appreciation for you and need to say a huge thank you.
“I’ve always said when you can share moments with not just team mates but friends it’s even more special, and I’ve been so lucky to share the dressing room with people who are real mates for life.
“From a young kid growing up in Wales the dream was to always play and wear that red shirt. What not even I dreamt of was the memories and experiences it has given me and my family.
“Which has been made possible by you lot, the fans. I’ve tried to tell you many times how much you’ve helped, although it’s hard to find the words to articulate.
“So I’ll just say the biggest thank you, and see you soon.
We’re glad you crossed that ball ❤️🏴
Diolch am bopeth @Chrisgunter16 #DiolchChris https://t.co/F4H46uyIpq
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) March 9, 2023
“We’re in a great place with this staff and squad, with loads to look forward to.”
Gunter made his Wales debut in 2007 and was a cornerstone of the side that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 – the nation’s first major tournament for 58 years.
“We’re glad you crossed that ball,” said a tweet from the official Wales account – a reference to then-manager Chris Coleman telling Gunter not to do so just moments before he set up Sam Vokes for the third goal against Belgium in the Euro 2016 quarter-final.
Wales were leading 2-1 deep into the game and Coleman, caught on camera, was urging Gunter to take up time in the corner.
“Diolch am popeth (thanks for everything) @Chrisgunter16”, the tweet added.
Gunter was also part of the squads that qualified for Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup, although he was a back-up player in those tournaments.
He became the first Wales men’s player to win 100 caps in March 2021.
Gunter played for Cardiff, Tottenham, Nottingham Forest, Reading and Charlton before joining AFC Wimbledon last summer.
His announcement comes after the post-World Cup retirements of record goalscorer Bale and midfielder Joe Allen and ahead of Wales’ Euro 2024 qualifying campaign starting later this month.