Saturday 29 April 2017

'Listen to Roy Keane and you will be playing with 10 men' - Welsh defender's warning to Ireland

Roy Keane and (inset) Chris Gunter
Roy Keane and (inset) Chris Gunter

Harry Clarke

Wales star Chris Gunter has warned Ireland that they will be playing with 10 men if they take Roy Keane's advice on board.

Ireland assistant manager Keane urged Ireland's players to use their brains when it comes to stopping Gareth Bale on Friday - but do not to be afraid to use some brawn either.

The £85m Wales star is the main threat facing Ireland in the World Cup qualifier at the Aviva Stadium and Keane knows it will be difficult to keep a 'world-class' opponent quiet for 90 minutes.

But he thinks a combination of football intelligence and some old-fashioned physicality will have to be used in an attempt to subdue the Real Madrid attacker.

"The basic advice to any player if you're up against a world-class player is to get him as quick as you can and don't let him get his head up like he does at Real Madrid," said the Ireland assistant this week.

"Don't give him space in behind because the boy can run. Tackle him. Hit him... fairly. Tackling is part of the bloody game."

But Gunter insists that Bale is well used to being targeted while firing a warning shot to the Ireland camp.

"I'm pretty sure before most games, people say that about Gareth Bale, to tackle him or man-mark him," said Reading defender Gunter.

"But he produces pretty much every week at the top level.

"So I'm sure anything that has been said this week, it's been said a number of times.

"If they do well on Friday and it works, we congratulate them. But if they do hit him physically, we'll be playing against 10 men."

Wales are currently four points behind Ireland in Group D but Gunter insists it is not a must-win game for Chris Coleman's team.

"It’s not must-win," says Welsh defender Chris Gunter, a man who has experienced two draws and a defeat in his three games against Ireland at senior level.

"That’s a saying in football I don’t particularly like, and I certainly don’t sign up to that one this Friday. If we were to draw the game are we stopping the group? Is there no point in playing the rest of the games?

"I’m not taking away from the fact it’s a big game, it’s going to be because we’re halfway through the group.

"We’re good at preparing for the game and not focusing on anything else but ourselves," added Gunter, who has an insight into the Irish camp from his time as a team-mate of people like Robbie Keane, Stephen McPhail, Paul McShane, Stephen Kelly and Alex Pearce.

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