Craig Bellamy to lead Wales in Speed Memorial Match

Craig Bellamy will captain Wales in Wednesday night’s Gary Speed Memorial Match against Costa Rica.

Wales were left looking for a stand-in skipper after Aaron Ramsey was ruled out of the game at the Cardiff City Stadium due to injury.

The Arsenal midfielder suffered an ankle problem in his club’s FA Cup defeat against Sunderland and failed to regain fitness in time.

Wales coach Osian Roberts has now confirmed that Bellamy will lead his country on what will be an emotional occasion for everyone at the ground.

It will mark the first time the 67-cap forward has led Wales since the Euro 2012 qualifying defeat in Montenegro in September 2010, and could also prove to be his last game for the national team.

Liverpool striker Bellamy was hit particularly hard by the death of manager Speed in November, and is known to be considering his international future, although new boss Chris Coleman is trying to convince him to play on through the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Roberts said: “For obvious reasons Craig will lead the side tomorrow night.

“He knew Gary better than anybody, he is a close friend of the Speed family and it seems only right that he should lead Wales on the night.”

Coleman later praised vice-captain Ashley Williams, after the Swansea defender allowed Bellamy to take the armband.

“It is a real nice gesture from Ashley Williams,” said the manager. “I spoke with Ashley yesterday, and it’s a different game, there is no getting around it.

“It’s a friendly building to the big one against Belgium in September, but there is a different slant on the game for obvious reasons.

“It is fitting. Aaron is our captain and he will be leading the team out with Gary’s two sons, Tom and Ed, and Craig is captain on the night, which is the right thing to do and it is also a nice gesture from Ashley Williams.”