NEWPORT'S Chris Gunter will captain Wales on Tuesday night cherishing the "huge honour" of equalling Gary Speed's 85-cap record for an outfield player.

Gunter will wear the armband with manager Chris Coleman resting skipper Ashley Williams and other senior players for the Cardiff friendly against Panama.

It is a deserved honour for Reading defender Gunter, who has remarkably played 64 consecutive internationals for Wales and missed only four games in the last 10 years.

"To be captain is a big thing. It means the world to captain your country," Gunter said.

"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.

"And having been in the Championship quite a while, you get used to playing Tuesday-Saturday."

The visit of surprise World Cup finalists Panama could mark the end of Coleman's near-six-year reign.

Talks over a new contract are set to resume after the Panama game, and it remains to be seen if the Football Association of Wales is willing to accept guarantees Coleman wants over his backroom staff.

But Gunter said: "Whenever players do interviews, the line is always the same: you want the manager to stay.

"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."