Morison welcomes Bellamy decision

PA Sport
Steve Morison
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Steve Morison

Steve Morison has welcomed Craig Bellamy's decision to extend his international career as Wales step up their preparations for their World Cup qualifying campaign against Mexico in New York this weekend.

Liverpool striker Bellamy, 32, had hinted that he was considering retiring from the international game following the death of late Wales manager and close friend Gary Speed in November. Many expected the 68-cap forward to step down after February's defeat to Costa Rica, a game staged in Speed's memory.

Norwich striker Morison is delighted to see the veteran forward involved in America, saying: "Craig wants to get to the World Cup more than anybody, especially because Gary Speed was a good friend of his. He feels he still has something to prove and has a lot to offer... I can't see him retiring from Wales any time soon. Long may that continue."

Current boss Chris Coleman always remained hopeful that Bellamy would be involved in the bid to reach Brazil in 2014, and selected the forward in the party for this weekend's MetLife Stadium meeting.

Morison added: "He is good around the other players and he wants to reach Brazil as much as the rest of the squad... He is still a quality player. I have trained and played with him as well as against him in the Premier League. He's a great player and I'm glad he is here."

Sunday's game will effectively be Coleman's first in charge of his country, as the former Fulham boss took a background role for the fixture against Costa Rica.

But with only an August friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina to come before the opening qualifier at home to Belgium in September, time is running out for Coleman to put his own mark on the national side.

But Morison believes Wales' run of four wins from the last five games of Speed's tenure showed they have the ability to reach a major finals for the first time since 1958, and that a lack of time with the new boss will not be a major issue.

And the striker knows beating a Mexico side including the likes of Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez, and lying 21 places above Wales in the world rankings, would be a major boost.

"Our plan is to qualify for the World Cup," he said. "That is what Gary Speed put in place when he first came in. The aim was Brazil and he went a hell of a long way to putting us on the right path. We have put something in place and the nucleus of that is still here apart from the person in charge."

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