Sport : Football

Bellamy has no retirement plans

4th February 2013, 08:20pm

Craig Bellamy: Still excited by representing his country

Craig Bellamy: Still excited by representing his country

Craig Bellamy has no intention of calling time on his international career because he is addicted to representing Wales.

The 33-year-old Cardiff striker has returned to Chris Coleman's squad for the friendly against Austria, having last featured in the August defeat to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The call-up for Wednesday's Liberty Stadium clash came as a surprise to some, as Bellamy's absence from the first four World Cup qualifiers due to injury had fuelled speculation he was set to call time on his Wales career after 70 caps and 19 goals.

Manager Coleman had called on the forward to clarify his international future, after Bellamy hinted he was pondering retiring following the death of Gary Speed.

And Bellamy, who was blighted by injury and personal troubles earlier in the season, has made it clear he will never turn down the chance to represent his country when fit.

When asked about his future with Wales, he said: "I have always tried to stay as quiet as possible on that issue.

"I am a firm believer you don't retire. If I had felt like that a few months ago and I had retired, what would have happened if I had then wanted to come back?

"It is best to keep quiet and see where you are in your mind.

"First and foremost you need to be fit and I am. I am enjoying my football and it's another game for me and it is an added bonus that it involves playing for my country.

"I have to take it as it comes, if I feel as I do now then it should not be a problem.

"I am enjoying my football at the moment and how everything is going and it's another chance to represent my country.

"There is no bigger honour, it's a drug and it's why I am here. It's my national team."

Bellamy revealed that the chance to play alongside Gareth Bale, Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey is also a motivating factor in his desire to continue pulling on the red shirt.

Of Tottenham winger Bale, who is earning plaudits for his wonderful goals against Norwich and West Brom, he said: "For him to be Welsh makes me feel immensely proud.

"He is Welsh, no-one else can have him, he is from our country and he is someone we should be proud of and he makes me feel very proud when I watch him play.

"At this moment he is certainly one of the world's best players, no two ways about it."

He added: "We have Bale, Ramsey and Allen, players who can be the heart and soul of our team for a number of years, so I felt there was a responsibility on myself to show my pride and turn up.

"I had players like Gary Speed who led the way for me.

"I watched him turn up and saw his pride in representing his country. That was an example for me and I want to do the same and I have tried to the same."


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