West Ham manager Alan Curbishley implored striker Craig Bellamy not to play for Wales next week after a 20-minute cameo which clinched a flattering 4-1 victory over Blackburn at Upton Park.
Bellamy, who managed only a handful of appearances last season following his £7m move from Liverpool due to injury, missed the start of the current campaign with a hamstring problem.
The Hammers were clinging on to a 2-1 lead when he replaced Dean Ashton from the bench – and lashed in a stoppage-time goal that shattered Paul Ince’s Rovers.
But Curbishley said: “No way is Craig fit for international football and I’ve told him and John Toshack (the Wales manager) exactly that even though he’s called him up.
“He has just come back and 20 minutes was all he could do. Even then he kept asking me to wait and wait. It’s a similar story with George McCartney even though he was capable of 45 minutes after his injury.
“I hope common sense prevails and he won’t be asked to play for Northern Ireland next week.”
Curbishley added: “It was typical Craig. He goes on for 20 minutes, scored a goal, and got booked. We needed what he gave us but we can’t rush him back.”
Curbishley saw his side climb to third in the Barclays Premier League table, with Carlton Cole scoring an even later goal than Bellamy after the Hammers had struggled to maintain a 2-0 lead given to them by Calum Davenport and a Christopher Samba own goal in the first 20 minutes.
Jason Roberts pulled one back and then saw Robert Green save his penalty early in the second half.
Curbishley admitted: “It was a fantastic save and we needed a couple more from him afterwards. It was 4-1 but really it could have been any score.
“I’m just delighted we got the win. It’s been a tough week after the performance at Manchester City and the way we played for much of the cup tie against Macclesfield.
“It’s difficult with fans having a go at you after only two games but West Ham fans are second to none when they get behind the team and that’s what we want. I can take any flak.”
Curbishley’s counterpart Paul Ince knows the feeling and was jeered and cat-called by the West Ham fans – nearly 20 years after he upset them by wearing a Manchester United shirt in public even before his transfer to Old Trafford was sealed.
He said: “It’s always like a circus when I come back here. Today I thought it was pretty tepid. It was great. There are probably 15,000 fans out there that were not even born when it happened.
“I’ve been back five or six times as a player and you get used to it to be honest.
“Everything went against me today and everything went for Curbs. I’m not happy because we had enough chances to change the course of the game. Curbs is obviously a lucky manager but I know he’s also a top manager and I’m pleased for him.”