Wes Burns calls for patience from Wales fans after disappointing Gibraltar draw

Wes Burns vowed the Wales camp would “block out the outside noise” after manager Rob Page was jeered by fans following the dismal draw with minnows Gibraltar.

Page found himself in the firing line from angry supporters on Thursday as Gibraltar – ranked 203 out of the 210 teams in world football – avoided defeat for the first time in 14 games at Estadio Algarve in Portugal.

It was Wales’ first game since missing out on Euro 2024 qualification, and Page chose to field an inexperienced starting XI with a combined total of just 44 caps ahead of Sunday’s sterner test in Slovakia.

Rob Page file photo
Manager Rob Page was jeered by Wales fans after the goalless friendly draw with Gibraltar (David Davies/PA)

“Sometimes you have to block out the outside noise,” said Ipswich winger Burns.

“As a group, we know what we’ve achieved in the past and what we can achieve going forward.

“Sometimes it can be frustrating – they’ve travelled all this way and want to see us win and score goals.

“But we’ve got to be patient and the fans need to work with us on that. We’re a young group and we’re all coming together.”

Wales missed out on a third successive major tournament in March when losing a play-off final penalty shoot-out to Poland.

Page has over two years left on his contract and the Football Association of Wales immediately backed their manager to remain in the role after the play-off final.

Taking into account the Poland game ended in a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes, Wales are actually unbeaten in nine games.

Only once in their 148-year history, under Mark Hughes between 2001 and 2003, have Wales enjoyed a longer undefeated run.

Burns said of Page: “He’s done unbelievable things with this group. After you’ve been so successful in years gone by, people assume you’ll always do well.

“There were lots of new faces in the starting XI, it was the first time we’ve played together and lads are still learning each other’s games.

“They were hard to break down, conditions weren’t great with the pitch. We’ll learn from it and put it right on Sunday.”

Page handed out five new caps on Thursday as Tom King, Charlie Crew, Fin Stevens, Jay Dasilva and Lewis Koumas all made their debuts.

Wales Training Session and Press Conference – Vale Resort – Monday 25th March
Goalkeeper Tom King was among five new Wales caps against Gibraltar (Nick Potts/PA)

Wolves goalkeeper King, who grew up in Gibraltar, said: “The boos are a little bit unjustified but we’re victims of our own success.

“We’ve been extremely successful over the past few years, we were one kick away from another major tournament.

“We know the level we’ve set for ourselves and this is below that level.

“But if you’re talking about what’s coming in the future, there’s a real group of young players coming through.”