Chris Coleman's first priority as Wales manager will be to convince Craig Bellamy not to retire from international football. Yet while in his sit-down with the Liverpool striker he will stress his intention not to rip up Gary Speed's winning formula, he will ensure there is no doubt about who is boss.
The Football Association of Wales was delighted at the new man's assured performance at the unveiling in Cardiff, but their day was marred when Larissa, the Greek side who Coleman resigned from 12 days ago, announced that the 41-year-old was still under contract to them and are suing the FAW. Larissa are ready to bring in Fifa.
Coleman cited personal issues and Larissa's financial problems when he quit just seven months into the job. The impending legal action is a blow to the FAW who initially hoped for a dignified succession. In a controversial selection process, Aaron Ramsey lambasted the FAW for not consulting him while Speed's assistant, Raymond Verheijen, was even more critical. Bellamy is also understood to be unhappy with the FAW and will quit if the structure is torn down which has helped Wales win four of their last five games.
Bellamy only reversed his decision to call it a day when Speed took over last February. "Craig came back for Gary, I understand that; maybe he won't come back for me," said Coleman. "I will try to talk him around. Wales need him. He's demanding and difficult, but wants things done right. We will have the conversation and I hope it will be a positive one. I'm sure there will be some crossed words, but that's football."
He will also meet with Ramsey, who will almost certainly stay as captain. But Coleman declared "the tail can't wag the dog" and revealed "the training will be different". "I promise you if we change our style of play then you can say I'm a liar," he said. "But there's more than one way to achieve your goal. I won't be ruled by any one person. I'm man enough to say 'This is how I want to do it. Come along with me or don't'."
Coleman admitted there is "a strong possibility" he will bring in Kit Symons as his right-hand man and queried Verheijen's claim that Wales needed only a "figurehead" to ensure Speed's legacy. "Well, why not get an actor and tell him to be a manager?" said Coleman.Reuse content