LONDON: The dithering over Britain’s Olympic football squad continued when the composition of the 35-man provisional squad was submitted but without being formally announced.
This meant a continuation of the leaks about players included, one of whom is reportedly David Beckham. The ex-England captain is in line to play at the Games finals even though coach Stuart Pearce will have ‘only’ a restricted 18-man squad at hids disposal.
The inclusion of Beckham, 37, makes it virtually certain that it has been decided he will be there for the tournament itself. Other over-age players in contention are Wales’ Craig Bellamy and Ryan Giggs as well as England’s Frank Lampard who has missed the Euro 2012 finals through injury.
The British Olympic Association and the Football Association had always agreed that Euro 2012 would not be picked for the Olympics out of concern for the fatigue factor. The only player for whom an exemption may be made is the England under-21 goalkeeper Jack Butland. The Birmingham City man was called up late for the European finals because of injury to John Ruddy but is not expected to play in Poland and Ukraine, barring an injury crisis.
Beckham was always going to be involved one way or another in the Olympics because of the promotional investment he put into the original campaign to win hosting rights for London. Also, there is little doubt Beckham’s presence would help sell tickets for the football event, which features Great Britain’s group matches at Old Trafford, Wembley and the Millennium Stadium.
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