RYAN Giggs has hailed Chris Gunter as the perfect squad man after the Wales great reacted to the disappointment being left out of the XI by standing out in training.

Gunter, whose contract with Reading expires this summer, is Wales' most-capped male footballer with 96 international appearances.

The 30-year-old from Newport made his debut against New Zealand in 2007 and has been a mainstay of the side, helping Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 and famously crossing for Sam Vokes' clincher against Belgium.

However, the defender's march towards a century of caps has slowed of late with manager Giggs instead turning to Swansea right-back Connor Roberts.

The manager made a tough call – ending Gunter's streak of 63 consecutive Wales matches going back to 2010 – but has been impressed by the reaction that ensures the stalwart is still a key figure in the squad as they prepare for a hectic build-up towards next summer's delayed Euros.

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"It's not easy. These can be hard conversations to have," said Giggs about turning to youth at the expense of Gunter and former captain Ashley Williams.

"You're leaving out players who are big characters and who have done so much for their country.

"Sometimes I don't even have an excuse because they've been great when I've picked them and are regulars in club football.

"But you just have to be as honest as you can. Players will not like it, some have been regulars, might expect to play, that's totally understandable. I get that, but sometimes decisions have to be made.

"With Gunts, for example, I explained to him that I just couldn't ignore Connor Roberts' form, the way he was playing for Swansea, and then subsequently with Wales.

"But I don't have a single word to say against Gunts. He has been fantastic, really stands out in XI v XI during training, doesn't moan, I don't need to say too much.

"Sometimes he's really disappointed, which is fair enough, but he's a good person to have in the squad."

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The delay to the Euros will lead to a hectic schedule of Nations League fixtures and World Cup qualifiers when football is given the green light to resume.

The coronavirus pandemic has, however, given Joe Allen the chance to be centre stage next year.

The influential midfielder suffered a ruptured Achilles playing for Stoke and was set to miss the tournament. The veteran will now be able to slot in at the heart of Giggs' team.

"I spoke to Joe last week who was obviously in a better mood because hopefully he will now be available in a year's time," said the boss.

"It would have been a travesty for Joe to miss out, in that Hungary game he was immense.

"I know how much Joe, and all the lads, love playing for Wales but for someone who has given so much it would have been a real disappointment so I'm especially pleased for him."