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A closer look at Chris Gunter's remarkable Wales career

A closer look at Chris Gunter's remarkable Wales career
© Offside
The 31-year-old, who made his international debut as a teenager in May 2007, will captain Wales on Saturday.

Chris Gunter will become the first Welshman to win 100 caps when he captains the side against Mexico in Cardiff on Saturday.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the 31-year-old right-back's remarkable international career.

Debut

Soccer โ€“ International Friendly โ€“ Wales v New Zealand โ€“ Racecourse Ground
Chris Gunter made his Wales debut as a 17-year-old in May 2007 (Nick Potts/PA)

Newport-born Gunter was a 17-year-old at Cardiff when he made his Wales debut against New Zealand in May 2006. Gunter played the first half of a 2-2 friendly draw at Wrexham, which also marked the debut of record goalkeeper caps holder Wayne Hennessey. Current national team manager Ryan Giggs started that game, his penultimate Wales appearance.

Mr Consistent

Soccer โ€“ FIFA World Cup 2010 โ€“ Qualifying Round โ€“ Group Four โ€“ Liechtenstein v Wales โ€“ Rheinpark Stadium
John Toshack gave Chris Gunter his international debut during his time as Wales manager (Chris Radburn/PA)

The start of Gunter's early international career coincided with a period of transition as then-manager John Toshack shipped out the old guard and blooded plenty of youngsters. Gunter, who has played for Cardiff, Tottenham, Nottingham Forest, Reading and current club Charlton, had grown up with the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale and soon made the right-back spot his own. He made 63 consecutive appearances for Wales between February 2011 and September 2018.

Euro 2016

Wales v Belgium โ€“ UEFA Euro 2016 โ€“ Quarter Final โ€“ Stade Pierre Mauroy
Chris Gunter, a Wales hero at Euro 2016, celebrates after the quarter-final victory over Belgium (Joe Giddens/PA)

Gunter's composure and experience played a vital part in Wales qualifying for Euro 2016, the country's first major tournament for 58 years. He played right wing-back as manager Chris Coleman opted for a three-man central defence and Wales reached the semi-finals. Gunter's special bond with the Wales fans was confirmed by his 'chin up' gesture following the group defeat to England and his pinpoint cross to Sam Vokes in the quarter-final, with the striker's header sealing a famous 3-1 victory over Belgium.

Record-breaker

Gunter became Wales' most capped player in November 2018. He captained Wales for the second time in surpassing Neville Southall's 92-cap mark in a friendly against Albania. As Gunter struggled to find flights for friends and family to the European outpost, he quipped about Gareth Bale and his private jet: "I'll ask Gaz if I can borrow his plane." Despite losing his place to Swansea's Connor Roberts in recent years, Gunter remains a valued member of the squad and is set to feature at his second European Championship this summer as Wales' first centurion.

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Thursday's key events


ROWING
ยท Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
ยท There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
ยท As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
ยท Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
ยท Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
ยท After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
ยท It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
ยท Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
ยท Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
ยท With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

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