EXCLUSIVE: Speed tells stars to put Wales before Team GB
Published 21:30 09/11/11 By James Nursey
Gary Speed has spelt out why rebel Welsh stars should not play for GB at the Olympics - but is powerless to stop them.
Wales chief Speed, 42, and thousands of fans have been dismayed by Spurs' Gareth Bale, 22, and Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey,20, backing the GB side.
The pair have both publicly stated their wish to play in next summer's Olympics if selected by coach Stuart Pearce.
They then courted fresh controversy recently by both appearing in promotional GB shirts for sponsors Adiddas.
Speed took the opportunity ahead of Saturday's home friendly against Norway to speak to his squad about the thorny issue when they met up on Tuesday night.
The Wales boss remains determined to protect FAW independence by discouraging players from participating in London 2012.
He wants his squad concentrating on Wales' forthcoming World Cup qualification bid next summer - not the Olympics.
Wales have a friendly on August 15, 2012 as part of their qualification preparations which would clash with GB commitments.
But the Welsh players, including captain Ramsey, ultimately know there are no sanctions to prevent them representing GB.
Speaking up for Bale and Ramsey, Nottingham Forest ace and pal Chris Gunter, 22, said: "I think they probably put the shirt on for a photo and took it back off.
"I don't think they can be affected because there is nothing that can affect them.
"Nothing can happen about doing it."
But Speed has made his feelings and the FAW's clear on the controversial issue.
Gunter added: "Gary has spoken to us.
"We were just told the FAW can't support the idea of Welsh players playing in the GB team."
Living in the Midlands, Gunter admits he has been partly shielded from the huge row of Bale and Ramsey posing in GB colours.
He added: "I understand there has been a lot of talk after the photos but being away from Wales I didn't know it was such a big thing.
"I didn't know back home it has been such a big situation.
"I haven't seen any of the photos yet myself.
"And I don't think there is an opinion from the players - certainly no-one has spoke about it."
But Gunter refused to emulate his pals Bale and Ramsey by stating a desire to play for GB too.
He said: "I wouldn't want to jump the gun.
"I don't know any dates or anything like that.
"Even though it seems so close for a footballer there is still so much of the season to go before then.
"I think it is something if it arrives on your doorstep you deal with it then.
"It is obviously a big talking point because the Olympics is such a big event.
"But something in six or eight months not many players will worry about yet."