London 2012: Bellamy backs Bale and Ramsey over team GB

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Bellamy fully supports Bale and Ramsay over GB bid

Craig Bellamy says he would back Welsh players who want to represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics.

The Football Association of Wales [FAW] is opposed to a British team, but Tottenham's Gareth Bale and Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey have been pictured wearing Team GB supporters' shirt.

And ex-Wales captain Bellamy says both players deserve to play at the Games.

"They are good enough to do it. If they do get the opportunity I for one will back that," Bellamy told Sport Wales.

"Do I believe one or two players... deserve the chance to represent Great Britain in the Olympics? Of course they do. For me it's a great honour for them."

Wales captain Ramsey and Bale have said they want to play for Great Britain in the Olympics despite the FAW's stance.

Former Wales striker Iwan Roberts believes Wales manager Gary Speed or senior FAW officials must explain their concerns to players such as Bale and Ramsey.

Roberts said: "I think it's about time now that either Gary sits down with his squad of players or someone from the FA [of Wales] and explains what their worries are.

"It's no coincidence that the two players that are in question - both are sponsored by Adidas and, of course, they're the makers of the GB kit for the Olympics.

"But someone needs to talk, talk to the lads, you know, and tell them what their concerns are."

Liverpool striker Bellamy believes the Welsh national side would benefit if players such as Bale and Ramsey appeared at the Olympics.

"The Argentinians [and] the Brazilians have all taken it seriously. They've all played their top young players," said Bellamy.

"I remember seeing [Brazil's] Ronaldo in '96. Your Kanus and [Carlos] Tevezs have won them [Olympic gold medals].

"What a great experience it is for that group of young players.

"If we could have one or two involved in it what experience that brings our national team as well.

"If we're trying to qualify off the back of one or two players who have had that experience it will only benefit Welsh football.

"When they come back to Wales the highlights and experience of going through that and what they then have to give to the Welsh national team, it will only benefit.

"I can understand the negative reaction towards one or two. For me it will be over and done with within the next couple of weeks or next couple of months."

And Bellamy dismissed fears Wales' independent status will be threatened if Welsh players represent Britain next summer.

"How can we lose our identity? I don't understand it, I don't get it one bit," said the former national team captain.

"There will always be a Welsh national team."

Bellamy believes Wales are progressing well under manager Speed as they look forward to the 2014 World Cup qualifiers which begin next September.

Wales won three out of their last four Euro 2014 qualifying matches and have leapt up 45 places in the Fifa world rankings to 45th.

In an interview with Lisa Rogers for BBC Wales' Sport Wales, to be broadcast on Friday, Bellamy said former Newcastle team-mate Speed has slowly rejuvenated the national side after a difficult start.

"He's always setting us targets, always trying to improve us," said Bellamy.

"It must have been difficult for him [when he] first came in.

"It was a losing atmosphere. As soon as we turned up we were used to getting beaten. Winning's a habit, but so is losing and we certainly had that.

"We do have an abundance of very good young players for the first time in a number of years.

"We've always had one or two coming through, but not a group as much as this.

"Does it mean they are going to go on and be top international players or even top club players? I don't know yet - they're still progressing.

"But the likes of your Bales, Ramseys are up there with any young kids.

"We have to try and make the most of these boys and try and really get the best out of them."

Catch Sport Wales on BBC Two Wales on Friday at 2100 GMT

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