Football comment: News that Craig Bellamy will pull on a Welsh jersey once again next Wednesday has given manager Chris Coleman reason to be hopeful ahead of a friendly clash with Austria.
The 33-year-old hasn’t turned out for the national team since the 2-0 home defeat against Bosnia and Herzegovina last August and speculation has been growing that Bellamy would call time on his international career.
Perhaps his return is not that great a surprise though.
Unlike Ryan Giggs, the Cardiff City forward has never shirked national duties and the patriotic player even has a huge tattoo of historic Welsh independence leader Owain Glyndwr up one arm.
More importantly, Bellamy still possesses the pace and skill to unlock Championship defences on a weekly basis.
However many fans were caught out when Crystal Palace midfielder Jonathan Williams — or Joniesta as he’s been labelled by the Welsh faithful — was not selected to win his first senior cap against Austria.
It seemed an obvious move to introduce the 19-year-old, who has nailed down a starting place at Palace alongside Welsh international centre-back Darcy Blake.
Instead, the technically gifted Williams is set to feature in under-21 side as they go hunting for a morale-boosting victory against an Iceland team who haven’t managed to avoid defeat since 2011.
The age-grade Dragons have lost both their games since former coach Brian Flynn was given the boot by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) last May in favour of new boss Geraint Williams.
Both selection decisions scream one thing — Chris Coleman and Geraint Williams are both desperate for a win.
It’s unlikely that Bellamy will still be playing for Wales come the start of the next qualifying campaign and it’s certain that Williams will have graduated from the under-21’s by then.
For so long Welsh football has been about “building for the future,” but these selection decisions show the immediacy of next week’s so-called friendlies.
It’s not a crisis but both bosses need a quick-fix win to build confidence in their squads and shore up their respective positions ahead of the next round of competitive games.
And the selection drama doesn’t end there.
Off the pitch — although apparently not far enough off it for Eden Hazard — the saga surrounding football’s most famous ball boy rumbles on.
Wednesday’s senior match will be at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium where a frustrated Hazard put the boot into Charlie Morgan last week.
In a bizarre twist the FAW felt the need to issue a statement this week clarifying that Morgan, son of a millionaire hotel owner, “will not be eligible for ball boy duties” for the Wales match.
The FAW explained that ball boys, and hopefully girls, have been chosen from local Union Rangers youth teams, adding that “he [Morgan] will be welcome at the game.”
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