Wales 'more than' just Gareth Bale, says Craig Bellamy

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Wales team ‘best in my lifetime’ - Bellamy
Euro 2016 qualifiers: Cyprus v Wales
Venue: GSP Stadium, Nicosia Kick-off: 19:45 BST, Thursday, 3 September
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and online.

Former Wales captain Craig Bellamy says the current squad is about far more than just star forward Gareth Bale.

While Bellamy agrees that Real Madrid's world-record signing is Wales' most potent threat, he believes there is strength in depth behind him.

"He is the best Welsh player I have seen in a Wales shirt for winning games singlehandedly like he has at times," said 36-year-old Bellamy.

"But I feel this team is more than that as well."

Bellamy, who won 78 caps and scored 19 goals for his country, is certain that Wales will qualify for Euro 2016, achieving the feat of reaching a major finals that no Wales team has managed since the 1958 World Cup.

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Wales have a three-point lead at the top of qualifying Group B with four games remaining.

Chris Coleman's side face Cyprus at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia on Thursday before hosting Israel at Cardiff City Stadium on 6 September, and wins in those fixtures will be enough to see Wales through.

Bellamy believes reaching the Euro 2016 finals in France could be the catalyst that sees Wales establish themselves as a major force in world football.

"Once they have qualified they will go from strength to strength and we will start seeing more of Aaron Ramsey, more of Joe Allen and Joe Ledley," said the former forward.

Group B table

"We will start seeing more players taking bigger control of games and having a bit more of an influence, so it is not just Gareth.

"I feel this is the exciting thing about this team - it will get better, this is definitely just the start.

"It's not just the quality, the age group is good, there are one or two young players coming through as well who are really at a good standard.

"Coaches are getting better due to Swansea doing so well, Cardiff doing well. We are producing better players so Welsh football has never been as healthy as it is now."

Former Cardiff City, Liverpool and Newcastle player Bellamy is sure qualification will elevate the sport in Wales to new heights.

"If we could just qualify, which like I said, I am 100% sure we will, football will take off and it won't look back," he added.

"We will start producing even more players that are real quality... we could be a football nation for the next 20 or 30 years, a really strong football nation which is something we all want."

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