The Fort Worth Press - Wales boss Bellamy aims to change perceptions over his temperament

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Wales boss Bellamy aims to change perceptions over his temperament
Wales boss Bellamy aims to change perceptions over his temperament / Photo: © AFP

Wales boss Bellamy aims to change perceptions over his temperament

New Wales boss Craig Bellamy wants to banish the perception that he is a volatile character as he steps into his first managerial role.

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Former Manchester City and Liverpool striker Bellamy courted controversy on and off the pitch during an explosive playing career that included 78 Wales caps between 1998 and 2013.

The 44-year-old's temperamental personality led to suggestions he was not cut out for management.

But Bellamy believes his coaching experience as Vincent Kompany's assistant at Anderlecht and Burnley has prepared him for the task of succeeding the sacked Robert Page as Wales manager.

"I understand the perception of me," Bellamy said on Wednesday at his unveiling press conference.

"Lack of experience and temperament were thrown at me in the past. It will be important to dismiss those concerns in three or four years' time.

"I put myself under more scrutiny that anyone. I am so determined to be the best human being I can be.

"That drives me. It's so important to be the best I can be. I'm not the finished article and if I've made mistakes I have apologised and learned from them. I want to impact people's lives in a positive way."

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, Georgia boss Willy Sagnol and Oxford manager Des Buckingham were in contention for the Wales job before Bellamy agreed a four-year contract.

Bellamy, who captained his country between 2007 and 2010, will attempt to qualify for the 2026 World Cup after Page failed to lead Wales to Euro 2024.

After cutting his coaching teeth at the Cardiff youth academy, Bellamy joined up with Kompany, helping Burnley win promotion to the Premier League in 2023.

However, Burnley were relegated last season with only five wins and Kompany left in May to take charge of Bayern Munich.

Bellamy, who also played for Newcastle and Celtic in his much-travelled career, stayed at Burnley as interim boss after Kompany's exit before finally going into management himself.

"The last three or four months I was happy, but it became clear to me that I needed more," said Bellamy, who missed out on the Wales job when Page's predecessor Ryan Giggs was hired in 2018.

"I needed to look for a number-one spot for my progression. I was working with Vincent in that period and then he went to Bayern.

"I was still looking at club positions, but Wales has always been very important to me.

"I was born here and to lead your national team is rare, but I'm grateful to get it as a first opportunity."

Bellamy's Wales reign will start with a Nations League tie at home to Turkey on September 6.

S.Weaver--TFWP