Wales’ Bellamy set to bow out at end of campaign

Craig Bellamy during Wales' tie in Skopje on Friday. Picture: PA

Craig Bellamy during Wales' tie in Skopje on Friday. Picture: PA

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CRAIG Bellamy believes it is the right time for him to step down from Wales duty and suggested that he could retire from all forms of the game at the end of the current season.

The 34-year-old won his 75th cap for his country in Friday’s disappointing 2-1 defeat in Macedonia and is set to win just three more after stating he would stand down when the current World Cup qualifying campaign ends in Belgium next month.

Despite a frustrating Group A effort which has yielded just two wins, both against Scotland, from seven games, Bellamy believes the future is bright for Wales, with talents of the calibre of Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Jonathan Williams to call on.

But the Cardiff forward, while not completely ruling out a change of heart, is not tempted to prolong his Dragons career for one more campaign as he wants to spend more time with his children.

He also revealed he may step down from all football when his current contract ends following the culmination of his club’s maiden Premier League campaign.

When asked if he could yet continue playing for Wales, Bellamy said: “I don’t think that’s going to be possible. I know I said I would not retire from international football and I really want this group to succeed.

“But it’s a two-year period to qualify and, if I start [the campaign] then step aside, it is robbing someone else of two or four matches, of vital experience, and they would miss out as well.

“That’s the way I’m looking at it. I honestly think Wales have a great chance of doing something but I’ve thought about it really hard.

“It’s difficult. I’m a single parent now and I’m having such a battle to see my kids on a daily basis. It’s so hard.”

He added: “My mood does change. . . I know I could change what I’m thinking. But the way I’m feeling now, it could be my last season in football.”

But Bellamy would welcome the chance to go into management once he hangs up his boots for good. He said: “I’ve got my A licence already, then I’m doing my pro-licence. After that, I’m going to travel around the world and learn my craft.”

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