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Bellamy the leader

There were no punch-ups and no fists flying in Manchester City's dressing room last week. Just good old-fashioned verbals.

Typically, it was a vintage performance by Craig Bellamy, bawling out his team-mates after they tossed away a win. In the line of fire was City's back four - Pablo Zabaleta, Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott and Wayne Bridge - following their draw with Burnley.

He pointed the finger at all of them during an explosive dressing-room inquest, accusing them of lacking concentration in the final minutes.

>>notw.co.uk

I'm not usually a huge fan of stories that Neil Ashton has written about us, but he makes a very valid observation in this piece regarding the leadership in the side. Despite the huge sums invested which has brought an infusion of quality into the squad there doesn't appear to be a real stand out leader capable of galvanising the side; a focal point of the side such as a Gerrard or a Terry.

Perhaps this is evidenced by how difficult it was to select a candidate as captain to replace Richard Dunne. Kolo Toure, Nigel de Jong, Shay Given, Vincent Kompany, Stephen Ireland and Gareth Barry all appeared to be credible candidates before Toure was named as the permanent captain by Mark Hughes.

Early days into his tenure as skipper of course, but whilst Toure has fitted easily into the side since his move and no doubt has the respect of the squad his demeanour doesn't suggest he is a natural leader, something Ashton notes:

Toure is softly-spoken, the quiet type who is always willing to offer advice but rarely shows an aggressive side to his character. That is precisely what City are crying out for, a player who commands respect and can rally the troops to the cause when times are tough.

Bellamy is just the type, a Mr Motivator who is not afraid to remind Manchester City's players of their objectives. He was doing that in the dressing room last weekend, jogging a few memories after their fifth successive draw in the Premier League.

There were many who scoffed when Bellamy was brought in, and predicted he would be a divisive figure in the dressing room as opposed to one with leadership qualities, a rabble rouser rather than a player with the respect of his peers.

It is no secret Hughes is a big fan of Bellamy, and stuck his neck out somewhat when he brought him to the club given the reputation that he carries around with him.

His name didn't garner any mention when the captaincy debate was in full flow (primarily I guess because he by no means thought of as a regular starter) but given his level of play and how he has conducted himself this season the idea of Bellamy as captain may not be as far fetched as it would one time have been.