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Benitez backs Bellamy

22 Sep 2006 - 08:35:28

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has played down Craig Bellamy's spat with Newcastle coach Terry McDermott after the Reds' 2-0 win at Anfield and insists the Welshman is giving him no cause for concern.

Bellamy's career has been dominated by controversial episodes both on and off the pitch but Benitez thinks the former Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United player is a reformed character.

Of the incident with McDermott he said: "It wasn't important. One or two seconds. You could hear shouts but nothing important. For me it was nothing. Some shouting and nothing else.

"Off the pitch, I promise you, talking with him, Craig is really focused, more mature, and at this moment he is a perfect example for the rest of the players. His training every day is fantastic and I cannot say anything bad about him.

"I don't worry about the history with Craig. When you sign a player you like to know everything about him if possible and in this case I knew about these things.

"I was talking the same with Robbie Fowler, Jermaine Pennant, Fabio Aurelio. You need to talk with the players and know what they think about the club and the future and if they can be a good signing for you.

"With Craig we were talking about backgrounds, and, like the rest of the players he understands, he knows it's the last opportunity with a big club.

"He is a Liverpool supporter and he is doing everything perfect for me now.

"When we talk about Craig we know his background but in the last two months he has been getting on really well with his team-mates, he has been really good.

"His work-rate is good in every session and in every game, he is a good player for us at this moment, a nice person and his relationship with the rest of the players is good.

"He has no problems with anyone and I've not seen him discussing any with the rest of the players."


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