The man who played for Wales for 15 years had his say at the National Coaches Conference
Craig Bellamy says the analysis and preparation Wales’ coaching team are putting into Euro 2016 will guide them through Group B.
Speaking at the National Coaches Conference, the former Liverpool star who is currently coaching with The Welsh Football Trust’s age group teams, insists Gareth Bale’s pace will have Group B’s big boys fearing Wales before a ball is kicked.
He said: “I’d like to say we’ll finish in the top two but it is a new experience for us.
“I certainly don’t see us finishing fourth with the group of players we have and the knowledge and first class preparation that now goes into our games.
“I think if we do finish third, that will be enough for us because we’ll get the points to take us through.”
The man who won 78 caps for Wales has analysed our Euro 2016 Group B opponents and says the unfancied Slovakians are the only ones Chris Coleman should worry about.
He said: “I think we’ll get a result against England, I really do.
“If their full backs bomb on and centre backs come forward, we have players who can expose that.
“When you’ve got the pace of Gareth Bale you know you can cause problems for anyone.
“Russia will be similar. They will want to avoid leaving any spaces because going forward they don’t have the pace to hurt us and defensively they don’t have the pace to cope with our counter attack.”
Bellamy’s only worry is the June 10 opener against the Slovakians in Bordeaux, which he says will see Wales come up against a tight, compact side who will attempt to utilise the skills of Napoli star Marek Hamsik on the break.
He said: “My only concern is Slovakia because I’ve watched some of their games and I can see that they typically like to sit in and we don’t have the sort of counter attack to break them down easily.
“I think they’re a tough team and they’ll make it really difficult. Due to the players we have, it will be hard for us.
“We are usually the team sitting because we love space and we play on the break but Slovakia aren’t going to come at us.”
The man who guided the likes of Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen through their early international careers says he always thought they would find themselves in this position and hopes they seize the moment once the tournament kicks off next month.
But he urges them to keep their cool, even if the opener doesn’t go their way.
He said: “It’s a game that of course we’d like to win but it’s not all doom and gloom if it’s a draw.
“I don’t particularly see them beating us and that’s not just me with my Welsh hat on.
“I feel quite comfortable with the last two games in the group.”