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Page last updated at 06:28 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 07:28 UK

Bellamy absence 'benefits' Wales

Craig Bellamy
Craig Bellamy has won 56 international caps for Wales

Mark Hughes insists Manchester City's handling of Craig Bellamy's knee injury will actually assist his Wales and the striker's international career.

Hughes has also repeated the club's apology over not telling the Football Association of Wales Bellamy would miss Wednesday's 2-1 defeat in Montenegro.

Hughes said: "We're conscious of the fact he [Bellamy] finds it difficult to play Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday.

"So it was a case of protecting him for not only ourselves but for Wales."

Wales skipper Bellamy's career has been plagued by consistent knee problems and since taking over the international captaincy from Ryan Giggs in May 2007, he has been available just 10 times in 23 internationals.

Former Wales and Norwich team-mate Iwan Roberts urged Bellamy to consider stepping down as Wales skipper to concentrate on his own fitness and hand the armband over to someone who is regularly available for John Toshack.

Cardiff City midfielder Joe Ledley has led Wales in their last three games and national team coach Toshack has to decide whether to stick with Bellamy to lead Wales before their next World Cup qualifier with Russia in Cardiff on 6 September.

Mark Hughes
We haven't got a problem with players going away on international duty

Manchester City boss Mark Hughes

Bellamy's failure to travel to Montenegro on Monday for Wednesday's friendly forced the Premier League club to release a statement apologising for forgetting to inform the FAW of the reasons for the 30-year-old's absence.

Bellamy had aggravated his knee problem during a goal-scoring display for Manchester City in their friendly win over Celtic at the weekend.

And Manchester City boss Hughes wants to protect the 56-times capped Welshman ahead of their season opener with Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

Welshman Hughes, Toshack's predecessor in the Wales hot-seat, promised Bellamy will be available for the all-important qualifiers.

"Wales obviously still have some World Cup qualifiers to come up," he said.

"And I'm sure he'll be available for them. It was just a miss-communication.

"Basically we haven't got a problem with players going away on international duty and as I've already said we had something like 17 players away so it's not like we stand in the way of players.

"Basically he had a reaction after the game and we're trying to protect him."

Hughes concluded: "We've apologised to the Welsh FA because it was down to us.

We should have informed them, but there was a miss-communication and we apologise for that."

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see also
Bellamy absence 'benefits' Wales
14 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Toshack receives Bellamy apology
11 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Montenegro 2-1 Wales
12 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Bellamy to lead Wales after Giggs
31 May 07 |  Internationals
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Internationals
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Feb 09 |  Wales

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