Dalglish backs Reds supporter Bellamy to grasp second chance
Published 10/09/2011 | 05:00
Craig Bellamy will make his second debut for Liverpool at Stoke this afternoon backed by the ringing endorsement of his new manager and childhood hero Kenny Dalglish.
The Scot believes that the Welsh international is a better player at 32 than he was at 25.
Bellamy took a substantial pay cut and accepted a reduced compensation figure from Manchester City in order to force through a free transfer move to Anfield on deadline day last month.
He returns to the club he supported as a boy but left after just one controversy-stained season in 2007.
That sacrifice immediately endeared him to Dalglish -- the 60-year-old has prioritised signing players who have made clear their desire to feature for Liverpool.
But it is the benefit of his experience which the Scot believes will make Bellamy, for so long cast as a trouble-maker, such a valuable asset.
"I have never managed him before, so I do not know what he was like (day-to-day in training), but from what I have seen watching him I think he is a better player than he was when he was 25," said the Liverpool manager.
"He is wiser now and he uses his experience really well. I think he is ideal for us and he is someone who will really help us.
"He loves football. I know that for a fact. Last time he came here he said he was a fan and had always wanted to play for the club. He has that opportunity again. The older you get, the fewer opportunities you get, and he wanted to grab this one."
Bellamy's arrival on a free transfer completed a remarkable overhaul of Dalglish's squad -- that saw the Scot take his spending to £114m.
But Dalglish insists such a price was necessary for Liverpool to put out a side capable of playing in the style demanded by their fans.
"We had to have the money to change our style and bring in players who maybe offered something different to the boys who were here before," he said.
"The players that come in are going to reflect the person that is in charge. I have got the way that we want to play in my mind." (© Daily Telegraph, London)