Hail Craig the team player
- Tue 13 Oct 2009, 10:07AM
- Posted byTim Oscroft
Mark Hughes can’t wait to see an end to unjustified ‘bad boy Bellers’ headlines.
Although the player smilingly announced his arrival at Manchester City by jesting that his future autobiography could well be called ‘Don’t Google Me’, Hughes believes his joint leading marksman has had a rough rap for far too long.
And no one is more pleased than the boss that fire-breathing Welshman is finally being recognised for his talent on the pitch rather than dividing opinions off it.
No one in the Premier League is in better current form than the 30-year-old forward who has scored four times in his last five club outings and added a World Cup qualifying goal for Wales for good measure.
Certainly Bellamy’s manager appreciates the once nomadic star’s efforts.
“The perception of Craig for too long has been too negative,” argued the manager. “He’ll admit himself that at times he has let himself down. What has never been in question was his ability, and because of the focus on MCFC he now has a platform to allow people to understand what a good player he is.
“I’ve worked with him before at international level and at Blackburn and he was outstanding for me. But, because of the lack of focus on his efforts there his performances were not flagged up as they should have been.
Now he has the platform to show what an exceptionally good player he really is, his form at the moment is the best I have seen.
“The knowledge he has now as a more senior player helps him to understand his body on a daily basis. He knows when he should not train and when he needs to back off and as a result we have been able to keep him on the field more in both training and, more importantly, in games.”
It is Craig Bellamy’s searing pace and innate unselfishness that makes him stand out amongst his peers though Hughes admits that his compatriot has been a late developer in the multi-tasking stakes when it comes to position.
“He found that more difficult when younger because he saw himself as an out and out striker but his ability to work in different positions is great for me because I can move him around and he still has an impact,” stressed the boss.
“You can play him off a big man, just off the front, on either side and he will still have an impact on the game.
“I like him on that left-hand side, because he naturally migrates over there even when up front in a pair. He likes to attack from over there, so the difference with playing there or up front is not too great. He’ll tell you he has to track back more, which is probably true but he can do that for a team as well.”