Ex-Nottingham Forest star Chris Gunter admits it will be ‘quite special’ to equal Gary Speed’s Wales record


Former Nottingham Forest defender Chris Gunter is set to reach a momentous milestone when he dons the Welsh shirt in Cardiff on Tuesday evening for a friendly against Panama.

Taking the captain’s armband in the absence of Everton skipper Ashley Williams, Gunter will claim his 85th cap for his country, and in the process equal the late Gary Speed’s outfield record.

Now at Reading, Gunter admits it “means the world to captain your country” in what will be his 64th consecutive appearance for Wales.

“To be captain is a big thing. It means the world to captain your country,” said the 28-year-old, speaking ahead of the clash with the surprise World Cup finalists.

Chris Gunter chats to Chris Coleman

“And to be level with someone of Gary’s stature in Welsh football is a huge honour. To get to that number, it is quite special to equal his record.

“It is always nice when the caps tot up, but you don’t think about it until people mention it to you.

“I understand players have different situations but your job as a footballer is to play.”

The Newport-born right-back spent three seasons at the City Ground after making his loan move from Tottenham permanent in the summer of 2009, before moving to Reading where he’s made more than 200 appearances.

And he says it’s the busy nature of the Championship that’s helped him remain a regular for his country.

“Having been in the Championship quite a while, you get used to playing Tuesday-Saturday,” he said.

Chris Gunter in action for Forest against Swansea in 2010

There’s been much speculation about the future of boss Chris Coleman after Wales failed to qualify for the World Cup next summer, with talks over a new contract put on the back burner, but the defender hopes his manager remains in charge for the European Championship qualifying campaign which begins early next year.

“Whenever players do interviews, the line is always the same: you want the manager to stay,” he said.

“But I can’t understand – and I wouldn’t know – one fan, one player, one person in Welsh football who wouldn’t want him to stay.

“He is the greatest manager in Wales’ history. The things he’s done for this country is incredible.

“The last thing this group of players need is for him to leave and we all want him to stay.

“It would make absolutely no sense to let Chris Coleman leave Wales.”



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