Bellamy set to play on during assault trial

Updated: October 13, 2006, 11:54 AM ET
Reuters

By Jeremy Butler

LIVERPOOL, England Oct 13 - Coach Rafael Benitez thinks Craig Bellamy will continute to play for Liverpool during his court case next month.

The Welsh international has Nov. 23 court appearance in relation to an assault charge.

The trial is set for five days and Liverpool have three matches in a period of seven days around that time.

They play PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League on Nov. 22 before facing Manchester City three days later and Portsmouth on Nov. 29. All three games are at Anfield.

"I think he can handle these pressures and play for us. You must consider the mentality of the player and he will be okay," Benitez told a news conference on Friday.

"If he wants to play then I have no problem. The important thing is all three games are at home and that should make it easier for him.

"We will have to wait and see but if he is positive and strong in his character I don't see a problem with it."

Bellamy, 27, has denied assaulting two women at a Cardiff nightclub in February. He was due in court to answer the case earlier this month but the case was postponed. He went on to play for Wales twice, captaining his country both times.

Benitez added: "He had a similar problem in Cardiff this week when the case was held up but still managed to captain his country and score.

"He handled that well. It shows how positive he is and he always wants to play football."

Bellamy could take inspiration from his former Newcastle United team mate Lee Bowyer. In 2000/2001, when at Leeds United, Bowyer produced some of the best football of his career while on trial during an assault case and won the club's player of the year award.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index