October 12th 2010. Tinie Tempah topped the UK music charts with “Written In the Stars”, Chile began to rescue the 33 miners that had been trapped underground for two months and Reading FC sat seventh in the Championship table.
The significance of this seemingly random date in history? It was the last time that Chris Gunter, then of Nottingham Forest, missed a Wales international fixture. Just over seven years later, the right-back has made history by becoming his country’s joint most capped outfield player of all time.
Tonight’s friendly against Panama saw Gunter play a 60th consecutive game for The Dragons and earn his 85th cap, drawing him level with the late Gary Speed.
If that achievement didn’t make the 1-1 draw the North American nation special enough, the 28-year-old also captained his country for the first time in the absence of regular skipper Ashley Williams.
Can we just take a minute to look at these stats... 85 Caps for @fawales unbelievable achievement at 28 yrs old!!!! Desire... Passion & Dedication ⚽️ Congrats @Chrisgunter16 / Proud moment for family & friends! https://t.co/zWxAiBejNt https://t.co/MWTQCtCdbQ— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) November 14, 2017
Speaking ahead of the match, Gunter, who made his international debut against New Zealand in 2007, told the media:
"To be captain is a big thing. It means the world to captain your country.
"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.”
A huge congratulations to Chris, and we’re it won’t be long before he breaks Neville Southall’s record of most Wales appearances ever (92)!
Stay tuned to The Tilehurst End in the coming days as we’ll have a full international report, looking at how the likes of Paul McShane, Mo Barrow and Anssi Jaakkola have got on in the last week or so.