New boss Bellamy 'hadn't realised attachment' to Wales

2 days ago 12

Newly-appointed Wales manager Craig Bellamy says he had not realised the "emotional attachment" he had to his country until taking the job.

Bellamy, 44, was announced as the successor to Rob Page on Tuesday, leaving his role at Burnley to manage his national team.

The former forward won 78 Wales caps during his career, scoring 19 goals, which ranks as seventh best for the international men's team.

Despite his long international career and spells playing for hometown club Cardiff City, Bellamy said his feelings for Wales have "come back even stronger".

"I didn’t realise how important it was to me," said Bellamy. "Maybe it was because I’d been living in England and Belgium.

"I hadn’t forgotten, I’ve always followed Wales, but I hadn’t realised the emotional attachment I had to it.

"I wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to do, I’m not here for financial reasons, but for me it was the emotional attachment to it.

"The more I got involved it became clear to me and it was something I wanted to do.

"It hasn’t left me, I thought it had, but it’s come back even stronger.

"This wasn’t about progressing, this was rooted in me and I didn’t know it was there. I thought I’d parked it."

Bellamy played for some of the Premier League's biggest clubs: Liverpool, Manchester City and Newcastle United.

After retiring from playing, he worked with the academies at Cardiff City and Belgian giants Anderlecht, before joining Burnley as the assistant to Vincent Kompany.

There, Bellamy experienced two contrasting seasons, with Burnley dominating the Championship in 2022-23 before picking up just five wins in the Premier League last season.

Bellamy said the season in the Premier League was more valuable to him as a coach, despite how much he "hates losing".

“For me it’s not winning, I hate losing, and there is a big difference," said Bellamy.

"I believe if you give everything you got, not just in football but in life, and you try to be the best you can, that’s winning.

“If I don’t prepare and don’t put the effort in and you lose, that’s something I really struggle with.

“I’ve just had two seasons at Burnley, the first season winning pretty much every week and then going to the Premier League and losing most weeks.

"I’ve seen the level of how much you learn, and you learn more when you’re losing.

"You must stay calm through it all and that’s something I’ve really picked up along the way.”

During his playing career, Bellamy was never one to mince his words or pull his punches.

His determination on the field was matched only by his work ethic off it, but his temperament was at times called into questions.

Bellamy had well documented clashes with Graeme Souness and John Arne Riise during his career.

And now in his first permanent head coaching role, Bellamy said he understands that there will be question marks surrounding his appointment.

"I understand the perception, inexperience will always be thrown towards me, and temperament will be used," said Bellamy.

"Hopefully after a few months or a couple of years you’ll have a good understanding that the temperament is fine now and I'll have experience, hopefully that will dismisses it.

“It’s important me for me that I dismiss that.

"I’m not perfect, I’ve not come across anyone who is, but everything I’ve done I’ve owned.

"I’ve never shied away from any mistake I’ve made, I’ll admit it and be honest and open.

"I want to be the best person I can be, I’m still striving for that, it’s a real burning desire."

Read Entire Article