• Ashley Williams takes armband following 6-1 Serbia defeat
• Coleman wants Craig Bellamy to decide on his availability
Chris Coleman has attempted to put his "stamp" on his job as Wales manager by relieving Aaron Ramsey of the captaincy and telling Craig Bellamy that he needs to decide whether he wishes to carry on playing for his country.
Both steps represent a gamble on Coleman's part but after four successive defeats, which have placed his position under scrutiny, the former Fulham manager said he would be "a coward to get to this stage and not change things".
Coleman admitted that he felt compelled to leave everything the same when he replaced Gary Speed, who died last November, and inherited a team that had won four of their last five games. His stance, however, has changed in the wake of the sobering 6-1 defeat by Serbia last month. "I think that was maybe the trigger for me to say: 'Start doing it the way you want to do it and not the way someone else was doing it,'" Coleman said.
That process began on Thursday, when Coleman met Ramsey to tell the 21-year-old, who became the youngest captain in Wales's history when Speed appointed him last March, that he would no longer be leading his country.
On the same day he spoke to Ashley Williams to inform the Swansea City defender that he would be permanently replacing Ramsey as captain and had a frank conversation with Bellamy, when he made it clear that he needed to know whether he was still committed to playing for Wales.
Coleman said Ramsey responded well to the news that he had lost the armband and even suggested that the midfielder felt "a little bit relieved" because the responsibility on his shoulders had become a burden. "I was really impressed with how he handled it. And he was honest as well. He said he was feeling the pressure, so I think it was the right thing to do for him and for us."
Arsène Wenger said that he felt Ramsey "was a bit young" to be captain and the Arsenal manager was confident that Coleman's decision would allow the midfielder to "play with a little bit more freedom at an age where you need to focus on your game". Although Coleman conceded that he would not have changed the captaincy if Wales were winning, he arrived at the same conclusion as Wenger after reviewing the Serbia debacle. "I watched the game over and over and I saw Aaron trying too much. He was looking to get the ball in every area of the pitch. That's's a feather in his cap. He thinks he has to be doing more and trying to help people out because he's the captain but he really needs to be concentrating on himself.
"I watched him for Team GB [at the Olympics] where he wasn't the captain and we started to see Aaron Ramsey again. He was involved in the game, setting goals up, linking play and all over the pitch. When he comes on for Arsenal, he scored a great goal the other night because he hasn't got that added pressure."
Williams, according to Coleman, is a "natural born leader". He has, however, been struggling for form and has needed injections in his ankle to get through matches. "Whether he's got a little knock, his form has been affected or not – it's only three games [Swansea have lost on the spin]," Coleman said. "He's a good player, he's capable and he's proven that at the highest level. I feel he'll do a great job."
Bellamy's position remains a headache for Coleman before the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Scotland and Croatia, although he hopes the striker's future will be resolved this weekend. "We have been very patient," Coleman said. "Craig has had his problems and he's openly spoken about that. He knows he's an important player. But I can't keep on saying that. If he says [Saturday], 'Look, I still want to play for Wales and I'm struggling with a knock and won't be available', then I'll have to take that. Or if he says, 'I've thought about it and my international career is at an end', then fine. But I can't keep answering the same questions. It's boring for you and for me. We need to know 'yes' or 'no'."
Either way Coleman badly needs a victory. "As a manager you know what could happen if results do not go your way," he said. "The difference being an international manager is I haven't won a game for nine months in charge and that doesn't sit right with me. Come what may for Scotland and Croatia, all I can do is concentrate on preparing the team as best as I see fit. If the powers-that-be have a decision to make, then that's up to them."