CRAIG Bellamy, pictured, has insisted that he can cope with the pressure of taking over as Wales captain from Ryan Giggs.

The Liverpool striker will be given the captain's armband permanently following Giggs' final match against the Czech Republic today (kick-off 3pm).

Paying tribute to the Manchester United man, Bellamy explained it was a dream come true to follow in his footsteps.

"Ryan's been nothing short of remarkable - the best Welsh player I've ever seen. I'm a big Ian Rush fan, he's my hero, and to say that Ryan tops him really hurts me as a Liverpool fan but that's the best compliment I can give him," said Bellamy.

"He's one of those players that has everything - the pace and the skill and a great football brain, which we're all starting to recognise now that he's maybe not as quick as he was. What he's done at Manchester United has been amazing. He's a special talent, it's been a privilege to play with him and thank God he's Welsh!"

Despite his well-publicised problems on and off the pitch, Bellamy claimed that being handed the captaincy won't be an extra burden.

"It's a great honour and something I'll cherish," he said. "To represent your country is a massive honour and to get the chance to lead the team out is something that will live with me forever. I've done it a couple of times before, but to be given it on a full-time basis is fantastic.

"I understand what is expected of me playing for Wales and I've had that pressure since I was 21 or 22 so I can cope.

"I've been able to watch Ryan and see how he's dealt with it. There'll probably be a little bit more pressure on me as captain but it's not a bad position to be in to be honest.

"The fact that I've been in court has got nothing to do with me. Forget about that.

"I've been in one or two scrapes on and off the pitch but there's nothing I can change. I just have to put up with it and try to move on.

"I'm not going to stay locked up at home - I've got a wife and three kids and they couldn't get me out of the house quick enough."

Bellamy insisted that Wales can still qualify for Euro 2008 if they can get the better of the Czechs.

"It's a big game. If we win then the group is wide open. Germany have taken command but if we can win then we're in with a really good chance of getting that second place.

"You've got to have belief and confidence in what you're doing and we believe we've got a chance."