Toshack convinced Bellamy will rise to captain's role

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The Independent Football

John Toshack, the Wales manager, is convinced that Craig Bellamy will not disappoint as captain of his country in the absence of the injured Ryan Giggs.

Wales play Euro 2008 qualifiers against Slovakia tomorrow and Cyprus, next Wednesday at the Millennium Stadium, and Toshack's decision to give the armband to the 27-year-old Liverpool striker has been questioned in certain quarters. Bellamy faces a charge for assault - which he denies - at Cardiff magistrates' court next week and his career has been dogged by controversy and problems with authority.

But Toshack said: "I am not so sure that Craig's on-field record is too much of a problem. How many red cards has he had? It is not something I have considered or felt the need to think about with regard to making him captain.

"But his desire in the red jersey cannot be questioned. I have a hunch that it will give him something else to think about other than next week's court hearing. I am confident that he will not let me down. I have known him for a while and his commitment with us has always been first class.

"He gets annoyed with his team-mates, he gets annoyed with himself," Toshack added. "He felt at 0-0 in Teplice against the Czechs recently that he missed good chances. That annoyed him. And as confident and bouncy a lad that he is, he still knew he should have scored and he apologised in front of all the lads. For someone like him that wasn't easy. But he was right, he saved me from telling him about it.

"When we looked at the alternatives we came to the conclusion Craig was the best candidate. I don't think his commitment to the Welsh jersey can ever be questioned - you never see him missing out on a Wales match or a get-together - and I want that to rub off on some of our younger players. I talked to Craig about it and he was very happy, and so was I. I am sure it is the right choice.

"He has settled into the job well. Managers sometimes have little hunches that nobody else can understand, but there is always a reason. He has not just come to Cardiff to play for Wales, he has come to captain Wales. He will have a lot more responsibility - he certainly looks sharp enough in training."

Toshack even made a joke of Bellamy's well-publicised disputes with Terry McDermott and Graeme Souness, while at Newcastle, adding: "I had a bust-up with those two."