Bellamy favourite for captain role

Borehamwood Times: Craig Bellamy Craig Bellamy

Veteran striker Craig Bellamy is the favourite to lead Wales in Wednesday's Gary Speed Memorial Match against Costa Rica, which could be his final appearance for his country.

The 32-year-old Liverpool forward, who was close to late manager Speed, could be handed the captaincy role after regular skipper Aaron Ramsey was ruled out with an ankle injury. The 21-year-old Arsenal midfielder was made captain by Speed in March of last year, and led the Dragons to four wins from their last five games prior to Speed's death in November.

But Ramsey will be unable to play a part against Costa Rica, the first match under new manager Chris Coleman, as he has failed to recover from the injury he sustained in the Gunners' FA Cup defeat against Sunderland, although he will be present at Cardiff City Stadium.

A Football Association of Wales statement confirming Ramsey's injury absence said: "Wales captain, Aaron Ramsey, will miss the match with Costa Rica.

"Aaron was injured in the match with Sunderland and will not be available for the Gary Speed Memorial International. He will however, be present at the match, to pay his respects to the former Wales manager on Wednesday evening."

Bellamy, who has won 67 caps, has said he is considering his international future but chose to make himself available for the fixture to honour his former boss, but Coleman is hopeful of convincing him to extend his 14-year Wales career through the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Bellamy's ultimate decision on his Wales future could be influenced by Friday's resignation of coach Raymond Verheijen.

The outspoken Dutchman, who was Speed's assistant, was a popular figure with Bellamy and other senior figures such as Ramsey and Gareth Bale.

Along with Osian Roberts, Verheijen was due to lead preparations to face Costa Rica with Coleman taking a background role, but those plans had to be ripped up after he chose to stand down, accusing the FAW of "political and destructive games".

While the loss of Ramsey is a blow, Wales' only other fitness doubt is Birmingham goalkeeper Boaz Myhill, who has an Achilles injury. Aberdeen's Jason Brown has been called up as cover.

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