Gary Speed memorial match: Craig Bellamy set for tearful farewell

Bellamy set for a tearful farewell at Gary Speed memorial match

An emotional Craig Bellamy withdrew from the press conference ahead of Wednesday night's memorial match for Gary Speed.

It now remains to be seen if he will do likewise as far as international football is concerned.

The Liverpool striker will lead out Wales at the City of Cardiff Stadium alongside injured skipper Aaron Ramsey.

Centre of attention: Bellamy is set for an emotional farewell

Centre of attention: Bellamy is set for an emotional farewell

They will walk with Speed's sons, Ed and Tommy, in front of a near-capacity crowd as the Welsh footballing fraternity pays tribute to one of its most-cherished figures.

Bellamy, 32, was due to speak to the
media but pulled out at the last minute. Even now, some three months
after Speed's death, the striker was unable to guarantee that he would
keep his composure.

Emotional: Bellamy pulled out of the pre-match press conference

Emotional: Bellamy pulled out of the pre-match press conference

Head coach Chris Coleman did not feel it was the right time to speak about assistant Raymond Verheijen, who resigned last Friday.

And Bellamy too probably did not want to field questions about his own plans, even though they appear to be clouded.

Coleman revealed that the former skipper was persuaded to continue his international career by Speed. He hoped that he could do the same.

'I would prefer it if the words came from Craig himself,' he said. 'He's a very experienced boy, a passionate Welshman who has still got lots to offer.

'Effectively, it will be down to whatever he wants to do. I hope he stays with us because we need a Craig Bellamy – like most teams do – on and off the park.

'The indications are positive. But that's not for me to say. It will be for him to say Yes or No.'

It was left to Ramsey to sit alongside Coleman and speak about the tragedy that befell Speed's family and the nation on November 27 last year.

In the spotlight: Ramesy is set to lead the national side out with Bellamy

In the spotlight: Ramesy is set to lead the national side out with Bellamy

Arsenal's midfielder, at such a young age clearly not used to confronting death, managed well until he was asked about how Speed had influenced him.

'He made me Wales captain. He saw I was capable of doing that and I got on well with him as a person. So it was very emotional for me. A hard time for us all – and for the team as a whole.'

In memory: Wales will play in honour of Gary Speed who died last year

In memory: Wales will play in honour of Gary Speed who died last year

With the tributes planned by the FAW, a surreal atmosphere will certainly surround tonight's friendly

'Of course we want to win for Gary,' said Coleman. 'We cannot – and don't want to – get away from the fact of why we are all here. The most important thing is that Gary's family will be there, remembering and celebrating a very good guy.'

Wales remembers a lost son