Chris Gunter ready for Robert Lewandowski challenge

The 32-year-old, released by Charlton earlier this month, is set to face one of the world’s best strikers.

By Press Association Published: 31 May 2022 - 2.16pm

Chris Gunter remains unfazed by the prospect of marking Robert Lewandowski despite currently being without a club.

Gunter is set to lead Wales in their Nations League opener in Poland on Wednesday and win his 108th cap.

The 32-year-old will be tasked with marking Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski, scorer of 344 goals in 375 games for the Bundesliga club and one of world football’s best forwards, just weeks after being released by Sky Bet League One outfit Charlton.

Poland v England – FIFA World Cup 2022 – European Qualifying – Group I – PGE Narodowy Stadium
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski is set to lead the Poland attack against Wales on Wednesday (Rafal Oleksiewicz/PA)

“As a player you turn up and do your job,” said Gunter, Wales’ most capped men’s team player.

“If and when you’re selected to play for your country you feel a real honour to do so.

“I know we’re not going to have the same team for the next five games, but when that whistle blows the preparation and focus will be the same.”

Gunter spent two seasons at Charlton after an eight-year stay at Reading ended in October 2020.

Charlton Athletic v Sunderland – Sky Bet League One – The Valley
Chris Gunter spent two years with Charlton (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

He had previously played for Cardiff, Tottenham and Nottingham Forest and says he will sort out his future after Wales’ June programme, which includes Sunday’s World Cup play-off final against Scotland or Ukraine.

“I knew towards the end I would probably be leaving,” Gunter said of his Charlton departure.

“I knew I had this huge month ahead and it’s too big to be worrying or thinking about anything else.

“Whatever happens after that will happen. At this stage the situation I’m in is not a problem.

“I knew I had this huge month ahead and it's too big to be worrying or thinking about anything else”
- Chris Gunter

“I don’t think I’d be playing golf every day and just turn up for the World Cup.

“Football rolls in different ways and the season has only just finished. Talks and conversations (will) happen after these games, not before or during.”

Wales will return from Wroclaw to focus on attempting to qualify for their first World Cup since 1958.

After that, Wales will resume their Nations League campaign by playing Holland home and away and Belgium in Cardiff.

Gunter said: “It feels like it’s been a long time coming. It has the potential to be a really good two to three weeks.

“Everybody knows what’s up for grabs and what it could lead to.

“We’ve also worked hard to get into a good position in the Nations League, and we’ll come up against some good teams.

“We’ve got some really exciting fixtures and when you put all that into one camp it’s a really big month.”

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