Craig Bellamy has been appointed Wales head coach on a deal until 2028, replacing Rob Page who was sacked following the team’s failure to qualify for Euro 2024.

The 44-year-old leaves Burnley where he was assistant to former boss Vincent Kompany last season in the Premier League.

He was made acting head coach at Turf Moor when Kompany left to join Bayern Munich in May but departs to take charge of the national team he represented 78 times as a player between 1998 and 2013.

The former Liverpool and Manchester City forward said: “I will give my full commitment to develop this team and I am passionate to bring continued success into Welsh football.

“I can’t wait to get started with our Nations League games in September.”

It is Bellamy’s first senior appointment, having previously been Under-21 coach at Anderlecht before following his former City team-mate to serve as his number two at Burnley.

BOSS: Former Wales captain Craig Bellamy is now head coach of his countryBOSS: Former Wales captain Craig Bellamy is now head coach of his country

His first game in charge will be against Turkey in Cardiff when the Nations League begins on September 6 followed by a trip to face Montenegro in Podgorica three days later.

He takes over with the team having failed to reach a third successive European Championship finals, beaten on penalties by Poland in a play-off in March, the first time they have missed out on qualification since 2012.

In 2022, his predecessor Page led the side to a first World Cup appearance since 1958, exiting at the group stage in Qatar, having previously reached the last 16 of Euro 2020 after taking over from Ryan Giggs.

The FAW’s chief football officer, Dr David Adams, said: “I am absolutely delighted to announce Craig as our new head coach.

“We undertook a thorough recruitment process for the new men’s national team head coach and Craig was identified as the standout candidate.

“We are all looking forward to the Nations League games and working with Craig to deliver success for Welsh Football.”

Also reportedly considered for the role were former Arsenal striker and France World Cup-winner Thierry Henry, as well as his former international team-mate Willy Sagnol, who led Georgia to the last 16 of Euro 2024.

Oxford United boss Des Buckingham, who led the U's to promotion to the Championship, was a surprise late contender for the top job.

However, Bellamy was the man that the FAW wanted and they got the deal done for the former striker, who cut his coaching teeth with Cardiff City's academy and previously coached Wales age-grade sides.

He leaves Turf Moor with the club’s blessing, with chairman Alan Pace saying: “I want to thank Craig for all his hard work during his time at Burnley and wish him the best for his new position as Wales manager.

“Craig has been a very important part of our wonderful journey the last two years. I’ve admired his leadership, knowledge and passion.”


Bellamy won 78 caps and scored 19 times for Wales, including the famous winner against Italy in 2002

An 18-year-old Bellamy made his international debut for Wales in March 1998, and three months later scored his first goal in a 3-0 win over Malta.

Under Mark Hughes, Wales reached the play-offs in the Euro 2004 qualifiers, but injury ruled out Bellamy as the Dragons lost to Russia.

Bellamy missed the start of John Toshack’s reign through injury but was made captain in October 2006 in the absence of Ryan Giggs.

He became vice-captain on Giggs’ return a month later but it was only a temporary demotion before Giggs retired the following June – although injuries continued to disrupt Bellamy’s international career.

He postponed his planned international retirement when Gary Speed took the job in December 2010, but stepped down as captain to focus on his fitness.

After playing for Team GB at the London Olympics, he announced his international retirement in October 2013 after Wales missed out on a place at the 2014 World Cup.