DANNY Gabbidon has described former Wales team-mate Chris Gunter as a “freak of nature” ahead of the defender’s record-breaking 93rd appearance for his country tonight.

Newport-born Gunter drew level with legendary goalkeeper Neville Southall on 92 caps when replacing Paul Dummett against Denmark last Friday.

The 29-year-old Reading right-back is gearing up to make history in Albania this evening (kick-off 7pm) when Wales take on the hosts in a friendly at the Elbasan Arena.

Gabbidon, from Cwmbran, was in the team with Gunter when the latter made his international debut in a 2-2 draw with New Zealand in Wrexham 11 years ago.

“He’s a freak of nature to be fair, how he’s grown, not just as a player but as a person,” explained Gabbidon, who made the last of his 49 appearances for Wales in 2014.

“Making his debut as a 17-year-old, he was stick-thin, he was really quiet and didn’t say too much.

“To see how he’s developed and grown, as a player, as a person, he’s one of the leaders in that dressing room now.”

But former Cardiff City, West Ham United and Crystal Palace defender Gabbidon hasn’t been the only one to sing the praises of fans’ favourite Gunter.

Current Wales boss Ryan Giggs, who also played in that match at the Racecourse Ground in 2007, has hailed Gunter’s longevity and his impact on the squad.

“He’s a great professional, brilliant player, great character and someone who deserves all the plaudits he gets,” said Giggs.

“He’s not been starting a lot of games recently but, for me, he’s been brilliant to have around the squad because he doesn’t throw his toys out of the pram. He just gets on with it.

“When he beats the record, it will be a fantastic achievement.”

Only the diehard Wales supporters who have travelled to Albania will get to see Gunter break the record in the flesh.

But, for the man himself, there’s something apt about that.

“It’s fitting in a way to do it in front of those fans,” he said. “A lot of those who will be in Albania have been to far and wide places where I’ve picked up a lot of my caps.

“To do it in front of those fans who spend their hard-earned money getting to all these places would be a huge honour.

“I’ll be trying to get some family over there. But I know they’ll be watching somewhere even if I can’t because they’ve done that throughout my career.”