Craig Bellamy to take over as Wales manager and target World Cup spot

<span>Craig Bellamy (left) has cut his teeth as Vincent Kompany’s assistant manager at Anderlecht and Burnley.</span><span>Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA</span>
Craig Bellamy (left) has cut his teeth as Vincent Kompany’s assistant manager at Anderlecht and Burnley.Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Craig Bellamy is expected to be appointed the new Wales manager within the next 24 hours. The 44-year-old, who won 78 caps for the country before retiring from international duty in 2013, is poised to succeed his former Wales teammate Rob Page. Bellamy will be tasked with leading Wales to qualify for the 2026 World Cup.

The former forward worked as an assistant manager to Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht and Burnley but is now set for his first senior management role. He missed out on the Wales job to Ryan Giggs in 2018 and quickly emerged as the preferred candidate of the Football Association of Wales (FAW).

Related: Robert Page’s Wales were a team trapped in between two eras | Ben Fisher

Bellamy’s first games in charge are set to be a Nations League double-header against Turkey and Montenegro in September, the former in Cardiff and latter in Podgorica. Wales missed out on qualifying for Euro 2024 after a penalty shootout defeat by Poland in a playoff in March.

Bellamy, who played for Liverpool and Manchester City, finished his playing career at his home town club Cardiff City. A fiery, passionate character, he is likely to be a popular appointment with most ­supporters. Bellamy remains on the staff at Burnley, who this week confirmed the appointment of Scott Parker as their new manager.

Last week Osian Roberts, who worked as assistant to Chris Coleman at Euro 2016 and technical director at the FAW, ruled himself out of the running. Roberts, who helped to guide Como to Serie A last season, said the FAW expressed an interest in his services. “I wish the Welsh national team every success as it embarks on another exciting chapter, of which I have the most wonderful memories,” he said. The FAW declined to comment on Roberts’s post.

The FAW were open to appointing a non-Welshman to the role for the first time since 1995, with Willy Sagnol, who led Georgia to the last 16 of Euro 2024, and Thierry Henry, the current France Olympic and Under-21 manager, also thought to have been considered.

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