Craig Bellamy declares interest in Wales job

Craig Bellamy declares interest in Wales job

Craig Bellamy has declared his interest in becoming the next Wales manager.

Bellamy is among the favourites to succeed Chris Coleman, who resigned his position last Friday to take over at Sky Bet Championship strugglers Sunderland.

The 38-year-old former striker - the fourth most-capped player in Welsh football history - is currently working within the youth set-up at his hometown club Cardiff.

"I'd always be interested in that job. Even now at this present moment, of course I am," Bellamy said on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football.

"Looking further ahead, I'd be interested in it for the rest of my life. I'm passionately Welsh, it's the pinnacle for me.

"You are working with a group of players that are the most successful in the history of Welsh football in getting to the semi-final of a major competition (Euro 2016)."

Bellamy won 78 Wales caps during an international career which stretched from 1998 to 2013.

He played under Coleman and with most of the players who qualified for Wales' first major tournament for 58 years and then reached the last four in France.

"You need someone who's been involved in the set-up from a young age so he knows which players are coming through, which I do," Bellamy said.

"But at the same time it's a good position. So there will be plenty of people interested in it and rightly so."

Asked whether it would be the right vacancy to launch his managerial career, Bellamy replied: "Would it be realistic for me to go into a Premier League team?

"It wouldn't be there due to where the Premier League has gone to.

"One or two clubs would maybe take a gamble, but then it is lower down or working through the youth systems and learning your trade that way.

"I've done that and I'm still doing that now which I really enjoy.

"I've worked with Wales' younger age groups, so I've got a good idea of the system that's been put in place and producing players at a young level.

"I've been heavily involved in that and enjoyed that as well."

Referring to the death of his great friend Gary Speed, the former Wales manager, in 2011, Bellamy added: "I've been through the hardest time with this group of players so we know each other very well.

"I respect the lot of them and just feel it's a healthy position at this present moment.

"It's a good group of men that I see qualifying for the next tournament, and the next tournament after that as well."

Coleman was earlier unveiled as the new Sunderland manager and called for another Welshman to be handed the task of building upon his legacy.

"I would like another Welshman (to) take over because, for some years, we have been promoting the Welsh way," said Coleman, who revealed differences with the Football Association of Wales over the future had persuaded him not to renew his contract.

"So I I think it's a little bit hypocritical if we go with a foreign coach.

"I think is has to stay within, we have to believe in the people we have in the system. I can't give you a specific name because I don't know, that will be up to the FAW."

As well as Bellamy, Ryan Giggs and Tony Pulis - who on Monday was sacked as West Brom manager - would fit the bill of appointing a Welshman.

Both are understood to be on the FAW's radar and are now available while Osian Roberts, who worked as an assistant to Coleman, has his supporters within Wales.

Former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry, who did his coaching badges in Wales, has emerged as a non-Welsh contender, but he is currently involved in the Belgium set-up ahead of next summer's World Cup.

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