Bellamy named in Wales squad

PA Sport
Craig Bellamy
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Craig Bellamy

Craig Bellamy has been included in the Wales squad for the Gary Speed Memorial match against Costa Rica, a game that could be his last at international level.

The Liverpool striker was persuaded to prolong his Wales career by Speed, and was devastated when the late manager died in November.

New manager Chris Coleman has expressed his desire for Bellamy to play on into the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, but the 67-cap forward has already stated that next week's fixture could be his last in a Wales shirt.

Wales coach Osian Roberts feels it is "imperative" that Bellamy remains part of the national squad beyond the game against Costa Rica.

He said: "I hope it's not his last game. There has been no indication that it will be. He has had good discussions with Chris, which hopefully is positive.

"We have to manage his physical state with all the injuries he has had, but the form he has been in has been fantastic and it's imperative that he is in the team and around the squad. He is extremely influential off the pitch and in the dressing room.

"The players all look up to him, he is the ultimate professional. He looks after every detail, he trains like he plays - with great intensity which is why you have to manage his workload. But he sets the standard and the players round him raise the bar because he is a great example to any young player and it rubs off on others.

"Craig has to make the right decision for himself and hopefully he has the goal, the same as ours, to get to Brazil in 2014."

The squad, picked by Coleman and Speed's assistants Roberts and Raymond Verheijen, is, as expected, drawn from the group who helped Wales win four of their last five games under Speed.

However, there is a recall for Bolton full-back Sam Ricketts, who returns after a lengthy spell out through injury. Robert Earnshaw is also included in the 24-man squad despite finding first-team opportunities limited at Cardiff City. There is also a place on the standby list, and in the Under-21 squad, for Blackburn's Adam Henley.

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