CHRIS Gunter has leapt to the defence of Wales teammate and close friend Aaron Ramsey after the midfielder came in for more criticism following his Arsenal side’s thrashing by Liverpool, writes David Williams.

Arsene Wenger’s men were lambasted after losing 4-0 at Anfield last weekend and, not for the first time in his Gunners career, Ramsey felt the full wrath of some fans on social media.

Newport-born defender Gunter, who is set to win his 80th cap when Wales face Austria in a crucial World Cup qualifier in Cardiff on Saturday, thinks the abuse Ramsey gets is unjustified.

The two have known each other from a young age and room together when they are on international duty with Chris Coleman’s squad.

“Aaron was Arsenal’s most important player on the opening day of the season when he came on and got them back in the game,” said Gunter.

“I didn’t see the game on the weekend but I was aware it didn’t go that well, but that is football and it will never change now because of social media.

“Whenever a player is getting criticism or the spotlight is on them, it’s amazing that those are the ones normally always in the team and playing every single week.

“The criticism wouldn’t bother him. This is a guy who a couple of months ago was scoring the winner in an FA Cup final, and that was two in three years, so if he’s a scapegoat then good luck to everyone else.”

Team spirit has become a key characteristic among the current crop of Wales players, and Gunter reckons what goes on at club level isn’t brought to the table when everyone meets up to represent their country.

“When we come away there’s always a good atmosphere because we genuinely do get on with each other and enjoy catching up," he added.

“When we’re sat around the dinner table very rarely is the talk about anything at our clubs or anything football, it’s all about things going on in our lives.

“First of all, I see Aaron as a friend. I’ve played with him since under-12s so it doesn’t overly bother me if he’s getting stick.

“We’ve roomed together for 12 years and he gets a lot of stick but he gives a lot back as well.”