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Manchester City make me feel wanted: Bellamy relishing fight for a place
Published : 10 Oct 2009 00:59:55Rss feed
It is nothing new for Craig Bellamy to find himself the centre of attention. Whether it is pushing pitch-invading supporters in the face, or winding up today's opponents, the Wales forward is normally in the thick of it. His forthright views haven't always sat comfortably with those on the receiving end, either. To which he has generally adopted a 'So what?' attitude. Star billing: Bellamy is in sparkling form at City But his four goals this season and a stunning display at OldTrafford have made him stand out among Manchester City's gallacticos.Although Bellamy is one of six top quality frontline forwards, MarkHughes admitted after Monday's draw at Aston Villa that Cardiff 's mostnotorious would be one of the first names on his team-sheet. He may be difficult to coach, stroppy and unforgiving on the pitch,but he is also a driven winner, capable of scoring big goals in bigmatches. The 30-year-old striker believes Hughes's recognition of what makeshim tick has been the key to his explosive start to the season. 'Everything seems to make sense to me on the pitch at the moment,'he said. 'Everything just seems to be going the way I want it to. 'I'm with familiar faces, people I would trust with my life andwhen you are comfortable like that, you would give everything for them.The rest just comes off the back of that. 'I've been with Mark Hughes since I was 16. If anyone knows me as a player, it's him. He doesn't do anything special for me before a game. I just know where I am. Sir Bobby Robson did the same for me. He looked to get the best out of each individual. Some managers don't do that. Others do. 'It's not that I feel especially appreciated at Manchester City. I just know where I am. The manager pulled me in at the start of the season and straightaway said, "I'd back you against anyone. I know what you are like. If you are fit, I'd put my money on you, so just go out there and get your place". Star quality: Craig Bellamy has stood out among Manchester City's gallacticos 'At that moment, I knew I was part of it. It didn't matter who came into the club. I'm feeling confident and comfortable. I can really give it a go. Being with outstanding players inspires you to a level, too. It's been a pretty rewarding period after the hard work I've had to get to this stage, with the injuries I've had. 'People might say that I've not progressed as I should have. I'd agree. But I've not been fully fit for a whole season. Normally, I set myself targets, like "I want to score this many goals" or whatever. But coming into this season I set myself just one. 'Myself, the physios and the fitness coaches at Manchester City, we all sat down at the start of the season and I said to them: "Make sure I'm fit this season". I knew I could only challenge for my place if I was fit.' His involvement with City may be about to conflict with his Wales commitments. 'I've never really prioritised,' he added. 'I've not wanted to. But if we get to the Champions League with Manchester City - which is what we are aiming for - and I'm still a big part of that, I'll have to be realistic. 'Can I compete in the Champions League, Premier League and internationals? Don't forget, every day is a battle to fight for my place in City's side. 'When you see the players you are training with and the training is so intense, am I able to play 50 or 60 matches a season? Probably not. Then I'd have to look at it. 'If my knee is sore and we have a friendly in Australia, then it's not going to work out.' After defeat in March by Finland, he said the game was between two poor teams. That was interpreted as a slight by Finland coach Stuart Baxter, who said in the build-up to this evening's dead rubber in Helsinki: 'I don't think we will need to add to the motivation for the game.' To the neutral, the comments of the Wales' skipper were fair. But then, this is Bellamy we are talking about. It seems that he still has some way to go before everyone is convinced.
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