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Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Ashley Williams admits Wales captaincy hope

Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams has missed just one Wales game since his debut in 2008

Ashley Williams is the first Wales captaincy candidate to publicly state his desire to succeed Craig Bellamy.

Bellamy has offered to quit as Wales skipper because he will be unable to be an international ever-present as he manages his long-standing knee injury.

Centre-back partners Williams and James Collins are favourites to replace Bellamy if new Wales boss Gary Speed accepts his offer to stand down.

"I would be interested in captaining Wales full-time," Williams confirmed.

The Swansea City centre-back first captained Wales as a stand-in for the injured Bellamy and Collins in a 3-0 friendly win over Scotland at the Cardiff City Stadium in November 2009.

And Williams led a Wales team that included Collins in their last Euro 2012 qualifying double-header in defeats to Bulgaria and Switzerland in October.

James Collins
Collins has won 37 Wales caps since his debut against Norway in 2004

Bellamy, on loan at home-town Cardiff from Premier League giants Manchester City, has met with new manager Speed about the captaincy issue and told his old team-mate that he cannot commit to play every Welsh international.

The 31-year-old's career has been blighted by knee trouble and Bellamy has undergone knee reconstructions by renowned American surgeon Dr Richard Steadman.

He has a specially tailored training programme and should only play one match a week as Bellamy bids to manage his knee injury and prolong his career.

Bellamy made his Wales debut against Jamaica in March 1998 but his injury problems have restricted him to 59 caps from a possible 106 internationals.

Aston Villa defender Collins is Williams' main captaincy rival but has suffered his own injury problems that have hampered his involvement with Wales.

Williams, meanwhile, has missed just one international since his debut against Luxembourg in March 2008 and won 24 caps.

And the 26-year-old 2009 Welsh Footballer of the Year has already revealed his desire to succeed Bellamy as national team captain.

"Most people would like to captain their country so that is definitely something that I'm interested in," Williams told BBC Sport.

"I like being captain and it gives me an extra bit of responsibility and I enjoy it.

"But if the manager picks someone else then that is fine and I'm fully behind that decision."

But Collins had been touted as a potential Wales captain of the future by Speed's predecessor, John Toshack, and the experienced 27-year-old is favourite to succeed Bellamy.

Craig Bellamy reassesses Wales position

"You'd have to look at James Collins," former Wales striker Ian Walsh has said.

The 37-times capped international first skippered Wales in their final 2010 World Cup qualifying win in Liechtenstein in September 2009 as a stand-in for the injured Bellamy.

"He has played at Premier League level for a while and his stature is growing," said BBC Wales pundit Walsh.

"Someone like him like him, or Ashley Williams for that matter, would be ideal."

Speed's first game as Wales boss is their Four Nations opener with the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on 8 February before their next Euro qualifier with England in Cardiff on 26 March.

Walsh, who scored seven goals in an 18-cap Wales career between 1979 and 1982, praised Bellamy's honesty in admitting his reservations about continuing as captain.

"He is saying to his manager, I might not be available for every game so I am not going to be a leader," said Walsh.

"Craig is a role model anyway and he is saying give the captaincy to someone else who will be there every game - and you have to admire him for that. He is very honest.

"It will be frustrating because he might miss an international game one week and play for his club the following weekend - but the question is can we do without him?

"And the way he performed for Cardiff against Coventry, he was fantastic and led from the front.

"We need him at international level. If he doesn't play in some games, so be it. But if he plays in the big games and can make it count, then that would be great for Wales."

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see also
Bellamy hands on Wales captaincy
26 Dec 10 |  Cardiff
Cardiff 2-0 Coventry
26 Dec 10 |  Championship
Speed plans Bellamy captain talks
15 Dec 10 |  Welsh
Williams eyes Wales captaincy
15 Dec 10 |  Swansea
Wales unveil Speed as new manager
14 Dec 10 |  Welsh
Wales 0-1 Sweden
03 Mar 10 |  Welsh
Wales 3-0 Scotland
14 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Williams takes top Welsh awards
11 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Liechtenstein 0-2 Wales
14 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Welsh
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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