Bellamy predicts bright future

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Forward Craig Bellamy is convinced Wales now have a manager in Gary Speed who can deliver long-term success.

Speed has endured a difficult start to his reign with a lacklustre 2-0 Euro 2012 qualifying loss to England in Cardiff on Saturday following a dismal 3-0 friendly defeat by the Republic of Ireland. Yet Bellamy has been impressed with Speed and how the former national captain has modernised the team's set-up.

The 31-year-old said: "It has been the best week I've been involved in with Welsh football, to be honest. All my career I've been fortunate enough to play for my country, but for the first time I really see a future, and the national team being able to do something."

Bellamy added: "It has been so professional, the preparation this week. It's been so spot-on. There has to be professionalism off the pitch to get a good performance on it.

"For the first time in my Welsh history - we touched on it a bit with Mark Hughes - we are more developed.

"I have spent all my career involved in really highly professional clubs and then when I came to Wales it was amateur. But I have seen so much to be pleased about this week.

"I have no doubt Welsh football in four or five years' time will be having a lot of success."

Bellamy, who has spent the season on loan at hometown Cardiff from Manchester City, concedes he may not have a great role to play in Speed's new era.

The fiery striker remains one of Wales' most potent weapons but will not be able to play every game as he manages a long-term knee complaint.

"I am 31 years of age, I have had nine operations - the future isn't great for me," he said. "I don't try to look too far ahead. My body is different to other 31-year-olds because of the work I have had done. I will see how I am in the summer. Age and my conditions - my knee - don't allow me to look much further than the next couple of months."

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Gary Speed
Manchester City
Mark Hughes
Craig Bellamy
Cardiff City
Mark Hughes

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