Players delegation led by Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey & Craig Bellamy plead with Chris Coleman not to change Wales set-up

The new manager is ready to abandon plans to bring in his own backroom team after key members of the squad vent their feelings in private over a need to stick with what's in place
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Chris Coleman is prepared to abandon plans to bring in his own backroom staff after a Wales players’ delegation led by Craig Bellamy, Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale pleaded with him not to change the set-up created by Gary Speed, can reveal.

Senior players upset that the team have not been consulted by Wales FA chiefs on the choice of manager have made it clear in private over the last 48 hours that Speed’s No.2 Raymond Verheijen and coach Osian Roberts should be retained for the forthcoming World Cup qualifying campaign.

It is understood that Coleman has been so taken aback by the players’ strength of feeling that he is prepared to reconsider his plan to make Kit Symons his No.2.

The former Fulham, Coventry and Real Sociedad boss, unveiled as Speed’s successor on Thursday, will hold talks with all the relevant parties over the coming week.

Verheijen, who is believed to have a break clause in his contract that is enforceable by either party over the next month, is said to be keen to stay on and protect the legacy of his friend Speed, who died in November.

The Dutchman has significant support within the dressing room, too. The players admired the way he developed Wales’ playing style and tactics alongside Speed, who was also happy to allow the veteran of six World Cups and European Championships to take the lead during the half-time team talks.

Status quo | Bale & Ramsey have urged Coleman & FAW chiefs to keep backroom team

Some of the players, including national team captain Ramsey and Ashley Williams, used Twitter earlier in the week to advise the Football Association of Wales and Coleman to try not to fix what they feel is not broken.

It is a theme that they have expanded on in private telephone conversations both before and after Coleman was unveiled, with the likes of Bellamy and Bale also forcibly expressing their opinion that the set-up should not change.

Coleman has promised that he will meet the senior players in person and listen in further detail to what they have to say.

The FAW say that the final decision on the backroom staff should lie with the new manager, who they believe is the ideal candidate to build on the foundations and legacy left by Speed.

"Gary was the manager of Welsh football and of course we want to continue his legacy," said chief executive Jonathan Ford. "He was not a figurehead, he was the manager and that is why we have decided on the appointment of Chris Coleman to build on the excellent foundations put in place by Gary."

Coleman's former club Larissa, meanwhile, have announced that they intend to take legal action against the FAW over the 41-year-old's appointment following his departure from the Greek side last week.

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