Chris Coleman ready to call for Craig Bellamy to revive Wales' faltering campaign
Desperate times call for desperate measures and Chris Coleman, the Wales manager, will plead with Craig Bellamy to help save their abject 2014 World Cup campaign.
Bellamy missed the back-to-back Group A qualifying defeats to Belgium and the 6-1 thrashing in Serbia – Wales' heaviest loss in 16 years since conceding seven goals in the Netherlands – with a calf injury.
At the same time, the Cardiff City striker has also revealed he is going through the "worst time in his life" following the death of his close friend and former Wales manager Gary Speed last year.
Wales, who have yet to gain a point in their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, face a must-win game against Scotland next month, and Coleman believes a fully fit and firing Bellamy, 33, still has a lot to offer on the international stage.
"I saw Craig last week at the team hotel and he was OK in himself," said Coleman, still coming to terms with the shock drubbing in Novi Sad. "I'll sit down with him and find out what he is thinking.
"But bear in mind this is a conversation I've already had with him once. Craig is very much his own man – always has been – and there are only so many times you can travel down the same road with someone. Of course, a fit, healthy and motivated Craig Bellamy would be an asset."
Bellamy quashed rumours less than a fortnight ago that he was quitting football altogether and is expected to be fit for Cardiff's Championship game with Leeds on Saturday. But Coleman insists that the decision to return for his country will be down to the former Liverpool forward.
The manager added: "He needs to be sure in his own mind that playing would be something he wants. The environment of international football is not the place to be if you are not in the right place to deal with the challenges it brings."
The heat will intensify on Coleman in the coming weeks after Wales' fifth defeat in a row since the passing of Speed last November, but Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen believes the players should take responsibility for the woeful results. Allen said: "The manager has done everything he can to prepare us and send us out on to the field. It's us, as players, who are letting everybody down at the moment."
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