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West Ham's Bellamy proud of career

West Ham striker Craig Bellamy has rankled at any suggestion that he has under-achieved in his career and stressed his character has taken him this far in the game.

In an exclusive interview with Setanta Sports the Wales captain is more than satisfied with a CV that includes the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United and Liverpool and now sees him starring for The Hammers.

The 28-year-old appreciates he always finds it difficult to shed his bad-boy image but believes his playing record speaks for itself.

When asked if he felt he had under-achieved, he replied: "Not at all. I've got exactly everything out of my body I could have done.

"There's no-one who could tell me any different. I had five knee operations by the time I was 25.

"Long-term, I was told I had a 30 percent chance of never playing football again. I had to work very hard as a young kid to get to the level I have got to.

"I am very fortunate to get where I am now. I say fortunate, but I've had to put real hard work in as well because knee ops are not easy things to come back from and I was unfortunate enough to have a lot of them at a very young age.

"That tested my mentality and my attitude to come back from that. To be where I am now is something I'm very proud of and testament to my character and willingness to work and put those late hours in.

"I remember once on Christmas morning doing leg weights when I was injured and I was doing them on Christmas Eve night because it was really important to me and I wanted to give myself the best chance to do as well as I could in my career and I don't think anyone can doubt that."

When asked if he was more mature nowadays, the speedy striker feels he is learning all the time.

"I do believe I'm mature and have become a better player but maybe it's your [the media's] opinions of me that have changed a little bit as well," he explained.

"Maybe I handle you guys a little better than I used to - probably not speaking to you as much as I did, that probably helps as well.

"I'm probably still the same when I'm on the training pitch, when I'm about my fellow players but I believe when you get a bit older, people look differently at you as well.

"There's probably always eyebrows raised when I move to a different club," he conceded.

"I don't want to go into that as much as I can but my record does speak for itself," he opined. "I haven't won any championships, don't get me wrong, but I've usually been around the European places and Champions League places all my career except the first time I was in The Premiership.

"Really that's what we're looking for at West Ham and I fit the bill for that. It was a club I wanted to go to, that wanted a chance to qualify for Europe and really wanted to push on from there, that's what made up my mind to come here."

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