Craig Bellamy Reveals Wales Job Was Always His Dream

New Wales manager Craig Bellamy. Pic: Getty Images.

Craig Bellamy Reveals Wales Job Was Always His Dream

By Paul Jones

Craig Bellamy has welcomed his appointment as Wales manager by revealing the job is a dream fulfilled.

Bellamy succeeds Rob Page – who was sacked last month – after turning down the opportunity to stay at Burnley under new manager Scott Parker.

He has signed a contract until 2028.

“It’s an incredible honour for me to be given the opportunity to lead my country and it’s the proudest moment of my career,” Bellamy said in a statement released on the FAW’s official website.

“It was always my ultimate dream to become the Cymru head coach and I am ready for the challenge.

“I will give my full commitment to develop this team and I am passionate to bring continued success into Welsh football. I can’t wait to get started with our Nations League games in September.”

Senior FAW figures including chief executive Noel Mooney and technical director David Adams had been at the heart of the search for Wales’ new manager.

Bellamy, 44, is a former Wales captain who played 78 times for his country between 1998 and 2013.

His first game in charge will be on Friday September 6, when Turkey visit the Cardiff City Stadium.

After leaving Burnley – where he had worked as first team coach under Vincent Kompany since July 2022 – Bellamy penned a message to the Clarets’ fans.

“From the first moment I walked into the training ground at Burnley, I knew it was the right club for me and I have loved every moment since.

“The relationships I have with Alan [Pace], JJ [Watt] and all the people at the club, in every department, made my time at Burnley special and leaving a truly difficult decision.

“But the chance to be the manager of Wales, my country, has always been a dream that has never left me and a chance I just couldn’t turn down.

“I wish Scotty all the very best, he’s a good person and a close friend and the club is in great hands.

“To all the Burnley fans that made me feel so welcome – thank you and I’ll see you again soon! Belluz.”

Clarets chairman Alan Pace added: “I want to thank Craig for all his hard work during his time at Burnley and wish him the best for his new position as Wales manager.”

“Craig has been a very important part of our wonderful journey the last two years. I’ve admired his leadership, knowledge and passion.”

“I am certain that he will continue to find success in his new role and I wish him the very best of luck.”

Robert Earnshaw, the former Wales striker who played alongside Bellamy for his country, told Sky Sports News: “It’s an excellent appointment.

“When I was thinking, ‘who could take Wales forward?’ He was one of the first names I thought about. He’s got a very sharp mind, a great passion for the game and they’ve made the right choice.”

Earnshaw also dismissed fears over Bellamy’s lack of experience, saying: “It’s a step up, but I’ve seen it. Mark Hughes, who gave me my debut, went on to do great things with Wales and other clubs. It was his first job.

“Gary Speed’s first big role was with Wales. This is in the same category. He’s waited for an opportunity like this. He’s ready for it.”

Bellamy was renowned for his fiery personality as a player, but Earnshaw says his former international team-mate has mellowed since moving into coaching, explaining: “In the dressing room, he’s very much like you see. He’s very passionate. He tells it as it is.

“He’s changed a little bit and tweaked how he thinks and talks, as you have to as a manager. He’s going to bring that energy. There’s never going to be a dull moment with Craig.

“But he’s an excellent coach. I got to go to Anderlecht a few years ago and see him close hand. He had a young Jeremy Doku at the time.

“The way he spoke with the players and detail he gave them, I came away impressed. He’s slightly different to the player, Craig Bellamy.”





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