Chris Coleman anxious to know if Craig Bellamy wants to play on
Wales manager Chris Coleman wants Craig Bellamy’s international future to be decided sooner rather than later.
Bellamy, 33, was not named in Coleman’s squad yesterday for crunch World Cup qualifying clashes against Scotland and Croatia later this month. But he could still be added to the 21-strong group, with Coleman having left two spaces available. One of those is set to be filled by defender James Collins, who was sent off during the 2-0
defeat by Belgium last month.
Bellamy, though, might feature subject to fitness and whether or not he wants to extend an international career that has yielded 76 caps and 19 goals.
Coleman anticipates Bellamy being involved for Cardiff in their npower Championship game at Ipswich today, before speaking with him tomorrow.
“Craig has had a couple of knocks,” Coleman said. “We’ve left two spaces open, and let’s see how he comes through tomorrow, physically and mentally. We need to know from Craig whether he is coming to join us and staying, or not. If not, we have got to move forward. If he’s staying with us then great.
“It is not like we have another two or three Craig Bellamys. Players like that don’t come around all the time. If Craig is not with us then we need to concentrate on the other players who are with us. If he is with us, great, if he isn’t then let’s shake hands and move forward.”
Bellamy withdrew from the Wales squad that lost to Belgium and Serbia, scoring just one goal, last month and there are many who believe he has played his last game of international football. “Craig has paid his dues and he is a terrific player, but is he in or out?” Coleman added. “I hope he is in, but we have to know if he is ready or not ready. I’ll wait for a call on Sunday.”
Coleman also insists he will not be afraid to change things. Swansea defender Ashley Williams has replaced 21-year-old Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey as skipper following those Group A defeats.
Coleman accepts he needs to stamp his mark on the job after taking over nine months ago following the death of Gary Speed. “I kept things the same as much as I possibly could,” he said. “For me to have come in and ripped everything up, either that would have been my ego taking over or I was just being really stupid. It was not like I took the job after someone had got the sack or left. It was a highly sensitive situation, and I was mindful of that.
“Whatever Gary had done was working, and as much as I possibly could I kept it the same. But now it is not working, and I want to go in another direction. The worst thing you can do when something is not going well is nothing, and I haven’t done that. Playing four and losing four is a horrible feeling.”
Coleman met with Ramsey this week, and the manager has no doubt he will captain his country again in the future. “Aaron has been incredibly mature about it, and a little bit relieved if I am honest, because it is a big pressure,” Coleman added. “It was not an easy decision, and of course he is disappointed. I have no doubt he will be captain again. I was very impressed with what he had to say and his reaction. He was very professional.”
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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