David Beckham omission set to dominate Team GB announcement

 

Stuart Pearce can expect the name of David Beckham to dominate
proceedings when he names his 18-man squad for the Great Britain Olympic
squad later today - but not for the reasons most had expected.

It was widely anticipated the former England captain, who been an active part of the London 2012 bid and promotional team from the off, would be rewarded with one of three over-age player slots in the final party.

But news leaked last week he would not be making it beyond the 35-strong shortlist and Pearce rang the veteran on Wednesday night to inform him he was out.

Instead, Pearce is understood to have opted for Welsh duo Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy, as well as his former Manchester City charge Micah Richards.

Richards was apparently deemed a more essential pick than Beckham after injuries to fellow right-backs Kyle Walker and Chris Smalling.

The decision has created a huge amount of debate and controversy.

Some feel Beckham should have been selected as a reward for the pivotal role he played in getting the Games to London in the first place. In addition, his presence would help to shift the estimated one million tickets still available for the football tournament.

Others have argued selecting the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder would devalue Britain's first Games appearance since 1960.

As well as the overage picks, other areas of Pearce's squad are already known.

Birmingham goalkeeper Jack Butland has been allowed to compete despite spending the last three weeks in Poland and Ukraine as third-choice keeper in Roy Hodgson's England squad.

Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley has also made it, along with Chelsea duo Daniel Sturridge and Ryan Bertrand, who has also emerged as a candidate for England's friendly with Euro 2012 finalists Italy in Berne next month.

It is also thought Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey will be selected as well to bolster the Wales contingent even further, although Gareth Bale, who would have been a star attraction, has been ruled out with a back problem.

After all the arguments over whether non-English players should be involved at all, it seems Scotland and Northern Ireland will have no representation.

Pearce's squad are due to spend a short time at a training camp in Spain before they take on tournament favourites Brazil - complete with superstar forward Neymar - in a warm-up game at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium on July 20.

They open their campaign against Senegal at Old Trafford six days later, before tackling the United Arab Emirates (Wembley, July 29) and Uruguay (Cardiff, August 1).

In addition to Brazil and Uruguay, who may have Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez in their ranks, Team GB are likely to face stiff competition from a Spain outfit set to include Manchester United keeper David De Gea and Switzerland, whose under-21s were beaten by the Spanish in the last European Championship final in 2011.

PA

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