Craig Bellamy named Wales manager in realisation of dream

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First working with young players at Anderlecht, as his former Manchester City team-mate turned around the Belgian club’s fortunes through youth, then showcasing team building and expressive football success at Burnley, Bellamy has said Kompany helped him fill in the gaps on his footballing education.

And with Wales setting out high-performance criteria and in-game management ability in their search for a manager, he ticked boxes to the extent he appeared an almost obvious choice.

He has spoken of his change off the field too. He has come through personal struggles and issues with mental health, bravely discussing in public how he has found greater coping strategies and the ability to seek help.

And for all the memories of the snarl, there was perhaps an irony that Bellamy’s managerial debut came when standing in for mild-mannered Kompany’s touchline ban.

How he copes with the pressure of standing on the frontline – and in a role he has so long coveted – would have been a question likely put to him when he met FAW officials last week.

But while those old perceptions and reservations may have existed, Bellamy is said to have again impressed with his passion, vision and how – through the will, work and drive he has never been afraid of – he can revitalise the fortunes of the team and the feeling around Welsh football.

For the FAW, it may be seen as a risk, but one they believe could come with great rewards.

For Bellamy, it is the chance he may not have always thought he would get, but the one he now has to take.

And, with World Cup qualification the aim, it is the chance for him to write his own fairytale ending.

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