NEWCASTLE United's rocky season took a further lurch last night with star striker Craig Bellamy apparently refusing to play out of position.

Rather than play on the right side of midfield, as requested by his manager, Graeme Souness, a disconsolate-looking Bellamy watched yesterday's televised 1-0 defeat at Arsenal from the stand.

After the match, Souness appeared ready to sell the £6m Welsh international.

The incident has echoes of a bust-up earlier this season in which England star Kieron Dyer refused to play out of position. The Newcastle crowd responded by jeering him, and the incident helped hasten the departure of the then manager, Sir Bobby Robson.

The latest troubles at St James' Park began on Friday when Bellamy made his unhappiness plain. When Souness refused to back down, Bellamy said he was injured and unable to make the trip to London for yesterday's Premiership game.

He had retracted his injury claim before the game, but Souness refused to include him in the squad.

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

Bellamy said he would play wherever asked, but Souness has run out of patience with the Welshman and will offload the player if anyone makes a move during the January transfer window.

Bellamy said yesterday: "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.''