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Europa League round of 16 draw

Europa League
By ESPN Staff

Gabbidon set for Wales skipper role

After almost two years out of the Wales squad through injury, Danny Gabbidon could find himself as captain on Wednesday in the wake of the Craig Bellamy fiasco.

Bellamy failed to make the trip here for the friendly with Montenegro, Manchester City admitting they forgot to notify the FA of Wales the striker was injured.

So boss John Toshack brought his squad here without their captain, not knowing the reasons until the flight landed on Monday afternoon.

City finally explained the situation on Monday but not until Toshack and his party had left Cardiff.

So with Bellamy back in Manchester, and with stand-in skipper Joe Ledley travelling but doubtful with sickness, Toshack may have to look to West Ham defender Gabbidon to lead the side.

And that will be a major boost for the defender, after battling back from complex abdominal injuries that have stopped him playing for his country for 21 months.

Gabbidon said: "It is good to be back, and be available for games after so long out.

"I've had a couple of games, a few bits of matches and I am getting stronger by the day.

"I need games now, I had a short spell on Saturday against Napoli at the weekend and now I need more matches to help with my fitness.

"I always felt I would get back to playing, how ever long it was going to take. I have been out a long time and people talked about whether I would play again, but I always had belief I would.

"I have done all the pre-season training and got back to some work at the end of last season. I have been out for so long I have great enthusiasm now I am fit and make up for last time.

"When things are taking away from you, obviously you miss it. Now I am back the squad has changed a lot with several young lads now.

"It is good to see them come through, the future looks good if they keep progressing. Maybe in a couple of years time if these lads keep progressing, we will start reaching major finals.

"It is disappointing Craig is not with us, he is obviously injured, but as our main striker he will be missed. Any team would miss someone of his quality.

"It is disappointing, but it now gives a chance to one of the young lads we have with us to come in and show what he can do."

The fall-out for Bellamy is that an angry Toshack may well decide not to select him for the final three World Cup qualifiers against Russia, Finland and Liechtenstein in the next couple of months.

FAW sources were surprised neither player nor City attempted to contact Toshack at the team hotel on Sunday by phone.

The fact Bellamy trained at City on Monday, and friends knew he was not going to be at the team's hotel on Sunday, has not eased the tension between Wales and City.

City issued a statement saying: "Craig Bellamy is continuing his fitness and rehabilitation work following a knee injury.

"He suffered a reaction following Saturday's game against Celtic and is therefore unavailable to represent Wales in this week's friendly against Montenegro.

"Craig's situation should have been communicated to the Football Association of Wales over the weekend, but a misunderstanding on the process meant this was regrettably not done until Monday.

"Manchester City have now made contact with the Football Association of Wales to clarify the situation."


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