Wales boss John Toshack is convinced Craig Bellamy will not be a let down after naming the Liverpool star as captain of his country for the first time.

Wales face Euro 2008 qualifiers against Slovakia tomorrow and Cyprus next Wednesday, both at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Toshack's decision to give the armband to the 27-year-old local boy with regular skipper Ryan Giggs injured has raised more than a few eyebrows.

Bellamy faces an assault charge - which he denies - at Cardiff magistrates' court next week, while his career has been dogged by red cards, bust-ups and controversy.

But the Wales manager believes in the Liverpool striker, and said: "I am not so sure that Craig's on-field record is too much a problem.

How many red cards has he had?

"It is not something I have considered or felt the need to think about with regard to making him captain.

"But his desire in the red jersey cannot be questioned. I have a hunch that it will give him something else to think about other than next week's court hearing.

"I am confident that he will not let me down. I have known him for a while and his commitment with us has always been first class."

Toshack added: "He gets annoyed with his team-mates, he gets annoyed with himself."

Toshack even made a joke of Bellamy's well-publicised disputes with Terry McDermott and Graeme Souness, while at Newcastle United, adding: "I had a bust-up with those two!"

He continued: "When we looked at the alternatives we came to the conclusion Craig was the best candidate to be captain.

"I don't think Craig's commitment to the Welsh jersey can ever be questioned, and I want that to rub off on some of our younger players.

"You never see Bellamy missing out on a Wales match or a get-together, his commitment cannot be doubted."

West Bromwich Albion's Jason Koumas could get the chance to be the creative influence in Giggs' absence.

Toshack explained: "Jason, now 27, is at the age when you should have your best five years in front of him - he has the chance to make the step up in his career we all think he can achieve.

"Jason has seemed happier with us this week than I have ever seen him. He has missed far more games than we would have liked in the past but I know he has the talent.

"There are some things he does well and other things he doesn't, but he is the type of player who can unlock defences."