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Page last updated at 20:38 GMT, Sunday, 26 December 2010

Craig Bellamy hands on Wales captaincy

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Bellamy reassesses Wales position

Craig Bellamy has welcomed the appointment of Gary Speed as Wales manager, but says his ex-team-mate will have to find a new national captain.

Cardiff striker Bellamy says ongoing knee trouble means that he will not be able to make every Wales game, although he remains fully committed to playing.

"Being captain is a great honour, but it's not the reason why I turn up for Wales," said 31-year-old Bellamy.

The striker was speaking after starring in Cardiff's 2-0 win over Coventry.

The Bluebirds skipper terrorised the visitors' defence, setting up the first goal for Seyi Olofinjana and scoring the second himself.

I'd never felt so disheartened after games [under John Toshack] because we weren't able to have a go

Craig Bellamy

Cardiff-born Bellamy says he is hopeful that the way his knee condition has been managed this year means that he will be there for the "crunch time" as his club chases promotion, having regularly had to miss the final two-to-three months of the season throughout his career.

"I want to have a huge impact and play at the level I did [against Coventry]," said the on-loan Manchester City star.

Bellamy replaced Ryan Giggs as national captain when the Manchester United star retired from Wales duty in 2007.

The former Liverpool and Newcastle player's commitment to his country has never been in doubt, but he has often missed internationals because of injury trouble, James Collins and Ashley Williams having taken the armband in his absence.

"I've always said that I'll never retire [from Wales duty] but I have to be clever over which games I play and which I don't," said Bellamy.

"I'm not going to be able to play every game, it's impossible.

"I've made Gary aware of my decision. I feel, with the young squad we have, it would be best [to give up the captaincy]. I will get right behind the next person who does it.

"I told [former manager John Toshack who made Bellamy skipper] that he would be better giving the armband to someone who will be there week-in, week-out.

"I watched [Speed as national captain] turn up every game and lead from the front... he's a person I trust completely.

"He's an incredible appointment [as manager]. I admired him so much as a player, I was privileged to play with him. It was impossible not to be impressed as a youngster coming through."

While Bellamy says he does not want to blame Toshack for Wales' woes in recent seasons, he offered a wide-ranging critique of the ex-manager's style of play and said he expects a completely different approach under Speed.

"Wales need an identity, at the moment we haven't got one," said Bellamy.

"We're very easy to play against. I'm not blaming Toshack, he wanted to play counter-attacking football, but it's not in our mentality.

"We're hard workers, so why not get at [the opposition]?

"[Under Speed] we're going to train with intensity and play with intensity - that hasn't been the case for the last six or seven years.

"I'd never felt so disheartened after games [under Toshack] because we weren't able to have a go.

"I don't think that the players were good enough [to play Toshack's way].

"Our players aren't made that way and our crowds aren't made that way - that's why [the fans] never turned up.

"Teams must have loved playing against us in the last couple of years."



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see also
Cardiff 2-0 Coventry
26 Dec 10 |  Championship
Speed plans Bellamy captain talks
15 Dec 10 |  Welsh
Wales unveil Speed as new manager
14 Dec 10 |  Welsh
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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