CRAIG Bellamy's Newcastle career is all but over today after his latest run-in with boss Graeme Souness saw him axed from yesterday's 1-0 defeat at Arsenal.

The Wales international, who has courted controversy throughout his three-and-a-half-year stay on Tyneside, will be sold this month if anyone is willing to match the £6m the Magpies paid for him in June 2001.

Bellamy, who is known to be unhappy at Souness' insistence that he plays on the right of midfield, made his grievances known after training on Friday.

When the Newcastle boss refused to back down, the 25-year-old is understood to have claimed to have been injured and thus unable to make the trip south to London.

A change of heart saw him retract that claim on Saturday but, by then, Souness had already decided that enough was enough.

Bellamy has been walking a fine line since he first clashed with Souness in October. The fiery forward was incensed at being substituted during Newcastle's 1-1 draw with Charlton and launched a tirade of abuse in Souness' direction as he left the field.

The United boss tried to reason with Bellamy two days later, only for the pair to almost come to blows on the training ground ahead of the club's UEFA Cup clash with Panionios in Athens.

"We have tried to keep this business behind closed doors," said Souness, who also lost his £8m centre-half Jean-Alain Boumsong to a hamstring injury. "But it seems as though someone has spoken out of turn and we can no longer hope to do that.

"There was an incident on Friday in which Craig expressed his displeasure at the position we have asked him to play. He walked out of training on Friday and claimed he was injured, but then said he was fit again on the Saturday.

"The supporters at Newcastle are only interested in 11 players who give everything for the cause - they are not interested in petulant individuals.

"They want to see players running their socks off for the cause. We're tyring to build a team spirit at Newcastle United.

"There was a meeting between the player, the chairman and myself, but I will not reveal what was said at that meeting. It is a matter we will address in the week. All I will say is that Craig is still contracted to Newcastle United."

Bellamy's reading of the situation was somewhat different, as he claimed he was willing to play wherever he was asked, even though he felt he had been letting himself down in his recent midfield role.

"I've been reading all the press and I've been told to do a job for the team," said Bellamy. "That's what I try to do. I don't feel as though I am doing myself justice in that position but I try to do as well as I can.

"Then we get linked with a centre-forward and I'm playing out of position when I want to go up front, which is selfish probably.

"I expressed that to the manager and the chairman, and they said they weren't getting a forward in. I said okay, no problem and put my views across because I'm not doing myself justice if I am out of position.

"I feel for the midfield boys who have to sweep up because I'm so attack-minded.

"I got left out today and there have been one or two reports, but I am fully fit and I want to play. I've played out of position in 20-odd games this season because I want to play for Newcastle.

"I've tried to keep silent, but its been a long day for me and its been a tough one. I walked off the training ground, which I didn't want to go into.

"I went to speak to the manager and thought I'd got results. I came as normal and came here today. I knew I wasn't playing and found out I wasn't on the bench.

"It disappoints me that my integrity is being called into question. I'm training as hard as I can. The fans know that because they see me playing out of position and trying my best for the club."

Bellamy's refusal to play out position has stark similarities to Kieron Dyer's outburst on the eve of the opening-day visit to Middlesbrough. Dyer was roundly castigated for refusing to play on the right of midfield at the Riverside, and Alan Shearer has warned that Bellamy will not be welcome at St James' Park if he continues to put himself before the good of the team.

"The manager - like everyone at Newcastle United - only wants players who want to play for the club," blasted Shearer. "Whether it's in the position they want to play in or not.

"We all want success for Newcastle United and, if anyone doesn't want that, the manager will replace them with other players."

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