CHRIS GUNTER is 'excited' for his new Wales coaching role after announcing his retirement from playing.
The former Dragons defender will work alongside boss Robert Page as a national team development coach.
Gunter linked up with the Welsh coaching staff in a short-term role for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Croatia and Latvia in March.
But the 109-cap full-back will return in an official part-time capacity to support the next generation, starting with the June fixtures versus Armenia and Turkey.
Gunter has made more than 700 professional matches for club and country.
He will play for the final time in AFC Wimbledon's League Two trip to Grimsby on Monday.
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Gunter said: "I feel incredibly fortunate and blessed to have enjoyed the highs and lows of the past 17/18 years.
"Over 720+ games has brought many challenges and opportunities which through all of it I’ve always given my absolute all.
"Thank you to all the managers who believed in me and all the players I've been fortunate to share the dressing room with.
“None of it would have been possible without the support of my family from the moment I started playing football. They’ve followed and supported my journey every step of the way."
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Gunter, who played for Cardiff, Tottenham, Nottingham Forest, Reading, Charlton and Wimbledon, retired from international duty in January.
He played for Wales in two Euro finals before he became the first male player to reach a century of appearances.
Gunter ended his Dragons stint as a player by being part of the World Cup squad in Qatar – the nation's first since 1958 – before bowing out alongside Gareth Bale, Joe Allen and Jonny Williams.
He has completed his coaching badges.
Gunter, who will turn 34 in July, added: “I feel ready and excited for the next chapter of my career. I’m hugely thankful to the FAW, and Robert Page especially.
"Having completed my coaching badges, I will begin my new role from the summer. It’s an exciting opportunity to work alongside Rob, and the staff.
"A final thank you has to be to the fans of every club I've had the pleasure of playing for. It means the world!"
Meanwhile, Page has told Nottingham Forest's Neco Williams to take his time in recovering from a broken jaw.
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Williams has undergone surgery following an accidental collision with team-mate Brennan Johnson in Forest's 3-1 win over Brighton last month.
Page said: "It's all about his health and safety. He's had a significant injury and we'll put no pressure on him. We just want to make sure he's right, if not for June, then for the future."
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