Sam Wallace: One day David Beckham will see the sanity in Stuart Pearce's Olympics decision

 

Psycho's gone rogue. The figurative klaxon will have gone off at the Football Association yesterday with terrifying abruptness, alerting Wembley that their forgotten man – who once briefly held every one of the FA's major coaching jobs – had given them one hell of a problem.

The decision by Stuart Pearce – sadly rarely Psycho these days, even to his friends – not to pick David Beckham for Team GB was a brave one. It will have caused discomfort at the FA and within the British Olympic Association. But it was the right one.

No one could doubt that the 37-year-old has contributed much to the 2012 bid and the endless torch relays and events that have followed it. Just as he pulled out all the stops for the FA's failed 2018 World Cup bid. Good on him, and that contribution will never be forgotten. Certainly not by a sizeable part of the English public who love him.

The trouble with sport, however, is that it only honours one debt and that is to ability. From the moment Pearce decided he wanted to pick the best squad available to him then Beckham was never going to be in. He is not currently among the three best players aged over 23 available; he is not even among the best aged over 33. His loyalty to the country's sporting causes is commendable but nothing can or should guarantee you a place in a squad. The argument that the Olympics are not a major football tournament and, as such, allowances should be made has weight to it. But clearly that is not how Pearce sees it.

The Team GB coach has left himself open to criticism by selecting Micah Richards, who declined to go on stand-by with Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 squad. It was a mistake but one feels that Richards has already served his punishment with the knowledge that he would have gone in place of the injured Gary Cahill. As a footballer there is no argument: he deserves his place on merit.

To give Pearce his due, he went to Los Angeles to watch Beckham play for the LA Galaxy, in May, a 1-0 defeat by New York Red Bulls. At that point, Galaxy had won three of 11 games, including five defeats in the MLS. They also went out of the Open Cup to a lower league side. Recently they have turned their form around with three successive wins.

Despite being part of an MLS Cup-winning team last season, Pearce was clearly not impressed with Beckham. The nature of international football is that, to a great extent, it has to be a snapshot of a player's form at the moment when the squad is selected.

Once again, you have to consider the wisdom of Beckham going to America five years ago. Although he played again for England, his international career might have lasted longer had he still been in Europe. But that is a different story. Given what we know about Beckham, the next exciting chapter for him will be just around the corner. In time, he will come to see that Pearce, from a football perspective, made the call his conscience told him to.

 



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
An iceberg in Ilulissat, Greenland; researchers have been studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and their long-term ramifications for the rest of the world (Getty)
news
Environment
environment
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Jackman bears his claws and loses the plot in X-Men movie 'The Wolverine'
film
Arts and Entertainment
'Knowledge is power': Angelina Jolie has written about her preventive surgery
film
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing