Football

Toshack doesn't doubt Bellamy commitment

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Wales manager John Toshack has no doubts about captain Craig Bellamy's commitment to international football.

The Manchester City striker pulled out of Sunday's friendly in Croatia with a calf injury after the 30-year-old had been a surprise inclusion in Toshack's initial squad after missing the previous three matches.

Toshack said: "I have never had any concerns about his commitment, none at all."

He added: "I spoke to him last week and we had a good chat about one or two - or three or four or five - things.

"He was ready to come and play. He'd been training with Cardiff this week and picked a bit of a calf injury. That was unfortunate, otherwise he would have been here for this one."

Bellamy is just one of 15 players unavailable to Toshack this weekend for what is likely to be a testing fixture.

Eight players have withdrawn from his original 21-man party for a variety of reasons while a further seven were either already injured or involved in the Coca-Cola Championship play-off final..

Toshack drafted in four players from the under-21 squad but was still forced to fly out of Cardiff with just 17 players. With only one more friendly against Luxembourg in August before the qualifiers begin with a trip to Montenegro the following month, the situation has hampered Toshack's plans.

"It is disappointing," said the former Real Madrid boss. "It would be disappointing when any game comes around but we took this game on with a view to the opening qualifying game against Montenegro.

"There are similarities between the two matches - there will be a decent crowd here and a hostile atmosphere, and it is pretty much the same part of the world. We are without a lot of players but we probably go in with eight of the lads who started in Azerbaijan last year, so we are not entirely a new side."

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Topics:
Sunderland
Football
Manchester City
Championship
Craig Bellamy
Premier League
Cardiff City
John Toshack

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