WALES legend Chris Gunter believes his Newport County AFC-supporting pals were proved right by an international debut from Josh Sheehan that won the boss’ praise for its tenacity.

The Exiles playmaker won his first cap after coming on in the second half of the 0-0 draw against the United States in Swansea on Thursday evening.

The 25-year-old pulls the strings for County, showing poise on the ball and a wide range of passing, yet it was his combative work in front of the defence that struck the man who gave him a debut.

Caretaker boss Robert Page hailed Sheehan’s attacking talent in the pre-match press conference – “Technically he is up there with some of the best players that we have got here” – but afterwards it was another side to the Exile’s game that earned acclaim.

South Wales Argus: DEBUT: Newport's Josh Sheehan in action for WalesDEBUT: Newport's Josh Sheehan in action for Wales

“We know his qualities on the ball but he showed that he has got an edge to him and likes a tackle, that’s definitely a benefit,” said Page, holding the reins for absent boss Ryan Giggs.

Gunter, who was raised in the riverside area of Newport and went to St Julian’s School, was thrilled to see Sheehan become the first County player to represent Wales in 37 years.

“Anybody who has any links with Newport is always a good thing! It was brilliant and I thought that he came on and affected the game,” said the defender, who captained Wales on his 98th appearance as he closes in on a century of caps.

“I’ve got a few mates who follow County and they tell me that he has been doing really well, so it’s a proud night for the club as well to have someone not only coming on but coming on and doing well.

“Games like that are never easy to come on in because it felt like quite a fast game against a team who had some really good attacking movements.

South Wales Argus: IMPRESSED: Chris Gunter praised Josh SheehanIMPRESSED: Chris Gunter praised Josh Sheehan

“But Josh slotted in really well and can be extremely proud of his performance. He certainly didn’t look out of place and that’s a massive positive for us because there is another player that we can call on.”

Sheehan will now hope to win cap number two in the Nations League with a fixture against the Republic of Ireland tomorrow (kick-off 5pm) followed by a clash with Finland on Wednesday (kick-off 7.45pm), both at Cardiff City Stadium.

County goalkeeper Tom King was an unused substitute in Swansea, backing up Danny Ward ahead of Owain Fon Williams.