No Scottish or Northern Ireland players as Team GB football squad is announced for the Olympics

 

Manager Stuart Pearce confirmed there was no political pressure on him to select David Beckham for his Team GB Olympic squad - and would not have accepted the job if there had been.

As expected, the omission of Beckham - a key figure in the London 2012 bid process and beyond - somewhat overshadowed the naming of the 18 players who will line up at the Games.

Until last week it was widely expected that Beckham's star quality and devotion to the Olympic cause would be enough to earn him one of the three over-age spots in Pearce's squad.

But the England Under-21 boss said his selections - Craig Bellamy, Ryan Giggs and Micah Richards - were made solely by him and exclusively for footballing reasons.

"From the offset, when I sat down with the (Football Association) chairman David Bernstein, some time before Christmas, he offered me the opportunity to pick the squad," he said.

"If at that stage he had said to me that certain individuals would have to be included I certainly wouldn't do that job. I don't know any manager worth their salt who would have.

"Right through this process I have had carte blanche to pick whatever players I regard as best.

"I do enough hours watching matches and I think I've done due diligence on all the players here.

"And in regard to ticket sales and merchandise: I'm a football man and I pick solely on football ability. I have to back my opinion and that's what I have done."

Much had been made of the reluctance of the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish associations to give their blessing to the unified GB team, but as it is no players have been selected from Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Instead the party comprises 13 Englishmen and five Wales internationals.

Again, Pearce said that tokenism never crossed his mind when selecting his squad.

He said: "I've got a list of names written down now, who I think ability-wise are good enough to do a job. I didn't pick on personality, I didn't pick on ticket sales and I certainly wasn't picking on nationality.

"To be honest I cannot tell you how many players there are from England and Wales. There 18 players are all Olympians now and that's the only way I view them."

Pearce also brushed aside suggestions the Welsh supporters would not get behind the team.

"Whenever I've supported a GB member as an individual, I've never looked at their individual nationality, I see them as British participants and I hope that's the case throughout our isles this summer," he added.

"I've been blown away by the mentality of the Welsh players in the squad and their desire to be part of it."

No captain has yet been appointed for the squad, with Pearce set to appoint one once the players meet for training.

Pearce said there would be no place on his staff for Beckham, due to a restriction on numbers in the backroom positions.

Asked directly if Beckham would be part of the touchline team - much as he was at the 2010 World Cup which he missed through injury - Pearce said: "That won't be the case with regards to David.

"With what he's done to bring the bid to these shores, I for one would champion him for what he's done for the cause.

"But we only have seven passes (for backroom staff). We have no passes for that. The players have to be prepared to come through the door on form alone and that happens to be the case with staffing too: they have their role to play."

Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt did reveal initial contact had been made with Beckham's representatives with regard to an unspecified role at Games time, though.

He added: "We'd be delighted and honoured to have David Beckham related to Team GB more broadly.

"That would be fantastic. I've made contact with his representatives over the weekend and we'll see how that moves forward."

The Great Britain men's football squad for London 2012 is:

Jack Butland (Birmingham), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough); Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Steven Caulker (Tottenham), Craig Dawson (West Brom), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Neil Taylor (Swansea), James Tomkins (West Ham); Joe Allen (Swansea), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Jack Cork (Southampton), Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Scott Sinclair (Swansea); Craig Bellamy (Liverpool), Marvin Sordell (Bolton), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea).

The squad in detail:

JACK BUTLAND (Birmingham) Born March 10, 1993

The only player in England's European Championship squad to be given special dispensation for the Olympics. Has starred as England Under-21s' number one for the past year.

JASON STEELE (Middlesbrough) 18/8/1990

Butland's understudy at England Under-21 level. Established himself as Middlesbrough's first-choice goalkeeper last season.

MICAH RICHARDS (Manchester City) 24/6/1988

Picked ahead of David Beckham as the third over-age player despite snubbing chance to be on standby for England's Euro 2012 squad.

CRAIG DAWSON (West Brom) 6/5/1990

Has made a real name for himself at under-21 level as a goalscoring centre-back but yet to firmly establish himself at West Brom.

JAMES TOMKINS (West Ham) 29/3/1989

A regular in under-21 squads, Tomkins is also a regular at the heart of West Ham's defence and was key to their Barclays Premier League return.

STEVEN CAULKER (Tottenham) 29/12/1991

Centre-back impressed on loan at Swansea last season and has a handful of England Under-21 caps. But only one appearance for parent club Tottenham.

RYAN BERTRAND (Chelsea) 5/8/1989

Shot to fame by becoming the first player to make his Champions League debut in the final itself. The left-back is seen as the successor to Ashley Cole at Chelsea.

NEIL TAYLOR (Swansea) 7/2/1989

Wales left-back, who can also play in midfield and has been part of Swansea's remarkable rise under Brendan Rodgers.

RYAN GIGGS (Manchester United) 29/11/1973

Legendary midfielder who will cap his career with the major international tournament he so richly deserves.

AARON RAMSEY (Arsenal) 26/12/1990

Like Giggs, the Arsenal midfielder and current Wales captain is good enough to star on the biggest stage. Who is to say whether he will get another chance with Wales?

TOM CLEVERLEY (Manchester United) 12/8/1989

Has appeared jinxed when it comes to making his England debut after being forced to pull out of more than one squad. Midfielder could be a key to Team GB's chances.

JOE ALLEN (Swansea) 14/3/1990

Wales midfielder who has been central to Swansea's much-feted passing game.

JACK CORK (Southampton) 25/6/1989

Midfielder failed to make the grade at Chelsea but was key in Southampton's Premier League promotion after finally being cut loose. Also an England Under-21 regular.

DANNY ROSE (Tottenham) 2/7/1990

Has struggled to kick on from a stunning goal on his Premier League debut against Arsenal. But his explosive pace will give Great Britain another option out wide.

SCOTT SINCLAIR (Swansea) 25/3/1989

Another who has flourished after being let go by Chelsea. Can play up front and out wide and is another quickie who also has an eye for a goal.

CRAIG BELLAMY (Liverpool) 13/7/1979

The final over-age player and fifth Welshman in the squad, Bellamy still has pace to burn at 32 and is a tireless front-runner and good finisher.

DANIEL STURRIDGE (Chelsea) 1/9/1989

Blew his chance of getting into England's Euro 2012 squad with a poor second half to the season. But is arguably the most skilful English player of his generation.

MARVIN SORDELL (Bolton)

Probably the biggest surprise in the squad but has impressed up front for England Under-21s and was good enough for Watford to persuade Bolton to buy him in January.

PA

 

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