Coleman unsure over Bellamy
Wales manager Chris Coleman is unsure if Craig Bellamy will play his final game for his country in Wednesday's friendly with Costa Rica.
Bellamy, 32, has been confirmed as captain for Wednesday night's emotionally-charged fixture at Cardiff City Stadium, with regular skipper Aaron Ramsey ruled out with an ankle injury.
Bellamy was particularly close to late manager Speed and was deeply affected by his death in November, and the Wales management team, led by coach Osian Roberts for this fixture, felt it was fitting that he skipper the side.
But Bellamy's future remains uncertain. The forward was convinced to extend his international career by Speed, and Coleman is attempting to do the same with the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign looming.
The player himself has admitted he is considering his future, and has not committed himself beyond this fixture.
Coleman believes Bellamy has already made his mind up, but is still waiting to find out the 67-cap striker's decision.
He said: "When he's ready, he'll come out and say what he wants to do. I have to try and put myself in Craig's shoes. He has known Gary a long time and was very close to him and his family.
"He came out of retirement for Gary. And he's not here now. It's not an easy one for Bellers.
"I won't take it to heart if he comes out and says that he won't do it. I will understand. I hope that's not the situation.
"I've known Bellers a long time. I'm not saying our relationship is the same as it was with Gary's. But he knows me and the way I work.
"It doesn't have to be a love affair to work. Not that I dislike him, I don't. I have a lot of respect for him."
He added: "He's a very experienced player, he is a passionate Welshman and he has still got lots to offer, and effectively it will be whatever Craig wants to do.
"I hope he stays with us because we need a Craig Bellamy, like most teams do on and off the park.
"You know what his mentality is like, he's a winner, he wants things done right.
"Personally I want Craig to stay and I hope he does. I will do my best to keep him because we're a better team and a better squad with him about."
Bellamy's ultimate decision could be influenced by Friday's resignation of coach Raymond Verheijen, who was Speed's assistant.
Bellamy was close to the outspoken Dutchman, who made his own aspirations to take over following Speed's death perfectly clear.
When asked about Verheijen's exit, Coleman refused to be drawn on the matter.
He said: "We are only here for one person. Anything I say about that person will take a little bit of the headlines or the spotlight away from the most important person really, who is Gary Speed.
"We want to remember his life and contribution not just to Welsh football but to football in general. So I don't want to comment about that situation.
"You know me. I don't sit on the fence and I don't want to sit on the fence. I'll gladly talk about it next week or the week after but not now. Tomorrow night has got to be about Gary."
The fixture promises to be an emotional occasion with Speed's family, over 50 Wales internationals and stars of the sporting world such as Sir Ian Botham and Joe Calzaghe in attendance.
Speed's sons, Ed and Tom, will lead Wales out along with Bellamy and Ramsey, while Speed's father Roger is to address the squad in the changing room before they take the field.
And Coleman revealed the squad had held a meeting to reflect on Speed's death after meeting up on Monday.
He said: "We had a meeting yesterday and we went into a room, we watched a bit of footage of Speed's when he was a player and of his managerial career .
"Osian just said to everybody: 'Do you want to talk about it? Is there anything you want to say?' And it was productive in terms of you could feel the togetherness and the warmth.
"We needed to do it. It was touching. It was emotional as well.
"It was something that needed to be done. The staff and the players have handled the situation very, very well."
Hello, regular commenting on Orange News and Sport pages closes on Thursday 30 May 2013. We will continue to provide a commenting facility on major news and sport events on orangeworld.co.uk. Contact us via http://oran.ge/OWfeedback if you have any further questions. Thanks.