NEWPORT’S Chris Gunter is relishing life as a Premier League player and believes the number of Wales stars in the top flight will boost their qualification prospects.
Chris Coleman’s side have their last friendly – against Bosnia tomorrow – before the big kick-off next month as Belgium visit Cardiff and the road to Rio begins.
World Cup qualification is the objective with Wales as competitive as they’ve been in a decade and Gunter, who moved to Reading this summer after three-and-a-half years with Nottingham Forest, believes top flight football will benefit him and his country.
The likes of Simon Church and Hal Robson-Kanu have also joined the ranks of the Premier League while midfielder Joe Allen is now a £15 million man.
“It’s great to be back, a really good feeling to be back in the Premier League and joining a really great club,” he told the Argus.
“I got a great first impression when I joined, I know many of the players and we went straight on a pre-season tour which helped me settle in quickly.
“There is a nice Wales connection at Reading and we want to make an impression on the Premier League and stamp our authority.
“More is expected of me and of Reading this time around in the PL. There is a lot of competition now for Wales at full back where I play and in every position and we are at the stage now where the majority of Wales players are in the top leagues.
“It’s good, first and foremost you concentrate on doing well for your club and all these players doing well is good for Wales. It shows we are progressing.”
Gunter was not selected for the Olympics but felt his Wales colleagues did themselves proud.
“I think the Team GB thing was good for the Welsh players involved, I thought they were the standout players to be fair, they were excellent,” he said.
Gunter also believes Wales are boosted by a big turnout for tomorrow’s clash, only James Collins a notable withdrawal.
He explained: “You can see how important the game is by the fact hardly anyone has withdrawn, it’s nice to see and it’s important for the manager, it’s a building block for the qualification games.”
Gunter is also confident he can take anything in his stride after a recent initiation. “There is always an initiation when you move clubs and on Reading’s tour to Portugal I had to get up and sing a song,” he explained.
“I went with Let Me Entertain You by Robbie Williams and if I can manage to do that...”