LONDON: Stuart Pearce has insisted that David Beckham fell short on a place in Team GB’s football squad for the London Olympics solely on football considerations writes CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE.
As reported last week, when Pearce named his 18-strong today the three over-age players were Beckham’s old Manchester United team-mate Ryan Giggs plus a fellow Welshman in Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy and Manchester City’s England defender Micah Richards.
Pearce,who had been heavily criticised in some – mainly non-football – quarters for not picking London Games ambassador Beckham said: “From the offset when I was given the opportunity, I was given job to manage as I normally would.
“When I looked at form, fitness, and availability in that respect I deemed this squad the best available to take this tournament on.
“I have a vast amount of respect for David in bringing Olympics here, as a professional and as an England international but I’ve got a duty of care to pick in my mind the best possible squad. The only relevance is footballing terms – I’ve treated the players in the same manor, and given time to see all the players this is the squad I’ve come up with.”
However Pearce did endorse calls for Beckham to be given a wider role in the Team GB overall set-up saying “I would certainly champion him for that”.
Andy Hunt, the Team GB chef de mission, echoed Pearce’s view, saying: “We would be delighted and honored to have David involved in Team GB in some other way. We totally respect and honor the decision Stuart has made. I have actually made contact over the weekend and we’ll see how that moves forward.”
The 18-man squad features five players from Wales and the rest from England. No players from either Scotland or Northern Ireland have made the cut.
The men’s football competition begins on July 26, a day before the opening ceremony of the Games. The young squad possesses top level experience, with 15 of the 18 players having played in the Premier League last season.
The agreement with the Football Association that Pearce would not select any of England’s Euro 2012 players was waived by special agreement in the case of Jack Butland. The Birmingham goalkeeper was called up late to the squad for Poland and Ukraine and did not play.
Squad: Joe Allen (22, Swansea, Wales), Craig Bellamy (32, Liverpool, Wales), Ryan Bertrand (22, Chelsea, England), Jack Butland (19, Birmingham City, England), Steven Caulker (20, Tottenham Hotspur, England), Tom Cleverley (22, Manchester United, England), Jack Cork (23, Southampton, England), Craig Dawson (22, West Bromich Albion, England), Ryan Giggs (38, Manchester United, Wales), Aaron Ramsey (21, Arsenal, Wales), Micah Richards (24, Manchester City, England), Danny Rose (22, Tottenham Hotspur, England), Scott Sinclair (23, Swansea, England), Marvin Sordell (21, Bolton, England), Jason Steele (21, Middlesbrough, England), Daniel Sturridge (22, Chelsea, England), Neil Taylor (23, Swansea City, Wales), James Tomkins (23, West Ham United, England).
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