London 2012: Ignore Luis Suarez sideshow Team GB footballers urged


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The Independent Online

Great Britain must not be distracted by the Luis Suarez sideshow tonight and focus on beating Uruguay to seal their place in the Olympic football quarter-finals, according to Scott Sinclair.

Suarez has been jeered on both his outings in the competition as fans have targeted him after he was found guilty  of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra last season, for which he was given an eight-game ban.

The Liverpool striker may have anticipated such a reaction in Uruguay’s opening match at Old Trafford — United’s home ground — but he received similar abuse at Wembley during Sunday’s 2-0 defeat by Senegal.

Suarez is almost certain to face the same vitriol at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, while Sinclair believes it would be dangerous for his team to focus on one individual when Uruguay have other talented players.

“I am sure the fans will target him but we have to stick to our gameplan and know what we are doing,” he told Standard Sport. “We can’t worry about anyone else and we will go into the game with confidence.

“They have a great set of players. It is going to be difficult for us because they get into the right areas and cause us problems. But the main thing is that we can go out there strongly, with confidence and our heads held high, to make sure we get a result to keep us alive in the competition.”

Captain Ryan Giggs confirmed he will shake the hand of Suarez and when asked if there was any lingering animosity between United and Liverpool players over the incident, he said: “That’s gone now.”

Sinclair also hopes to use tonight’s match, which will see Britain qualify if they draw, as a chance to show England manager Roy Hodgson he is worthy of a place in the national squad for the friendly against Italy in Switzerland on August 15.

The Swansea striker, who came off the bench to score in Sunday’s 3-1 win over United Arab Emirates, said: “I was disappointed [not to start] but the thing is you have to keep going.

“I spoke to the manager and he said, ‘you are going to get your chance and just be ready’. I am always ready and one day I want to play for England.”