Bellamy hails 'unbelievable' Olympic experience after standing ovation

The Welshman was expecting jeers from the Old Trafford crowd and says he is honoured to be part of such a great occasion
Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy was left humbled by the standing ovation he received when substituted in his first competitive match for Team GB against Senegal at Old Trafford.

Bellamy's visits to Manchester United's stadium normally see him on the end of a hostile reception as a member of the Liverpool team but the Cardiff-born striker has described his Olympic Games experience as a great honour.

His 79th-minute standing ovation upon being replaced, having scored Great Britain's goal, was a far cry from the outburst of jeers and boos that Luis Suarez endured during Uruguay's game against United Arab Emirates on the same day.

The former Celtic and Newcastle United man admitted that he was preparing himself for a torrid reception from the crowd, especially considering his nationality and his association with Manchester City and Liverpool.

"I was expecting what Luis [Suarez] got and was prepared for that," Bellamy told The Guardian. "I was grateful Luis was playing first.

"I had prepared myself for that if I'm honest but, look, this is the Theatre of Dreams, I'm a Liverpool fan and Liverpool is my club but it's always an honour to play at Old Trafford. That's coming from a Liverpool fan.

"This is a truly remarkable place to play your football and to come here to represent Great Britain and to represent my own country, Wales, was special.

"I'm 33, you guys have seen me for a number of years now. Yes, I can make mistakes but when I do play for your team I do work as hard as I can for your team and hopefully I got recognition for that. With the limited ability I have, I do have to make up for it with work ethic.

"I'm here because I want to be here and do as well as I can. It has been unbelievable so far. It's just everything around a tournament, I've never experienced.

"I'm just really grateful. We have a great group of boys, the manager has been brilliant as well. It's just been a special occasion. I'm just fortunate to be part of it."

Organisers were left to deal with a last-minute scramble to reprint official match programmes for Team GB's opening clash due to Welsh midfielder Joe Allen being accidentally listed as English.
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Bellamy, however, laughed the incident off and insisted that his compatriot would not be offended by the error.

"I think Joe knows he's Welsh, I'm sure he does," Bellamy added. "He speaks fluent Welsh, I don't think he's concerned about it because that's the type of guy he is. He loves his country as we all do.

"The English boys love their country. It's just great to be involved in this. We're representing four countries and it's a proud occasion. I'd like the media to be a little bit more behind it but of course with the Welsh that's sometimes not possible."