Pick me for Olympics 'on merit' David Beckham tells Team GB coach Stuart Pearce

 

David Beckham said today that he wants to compete at the Olympics on merit and nothing else.

Suggestions that he would get a place in the Team GB football squad because of glamour, newspaper sales or because he is a bigger commercial hitter is "a bit disrespectful", he said.

"Any time I have been asked about shirt sales and filling stadiums, I've never said it is disrespectful but it's the kind of question I have felt is," he said.

The 37-year-old LA Galaxy midfielder and former England skipper was a key member of London's winning bid to host the London 2012 Games and has always said he will fight for a place to compete at the Olympics.

He is proud of his career, proud of being part of the London bid and would be proud to play at the Olympics.

He said: "Throughout my career I've been pretty successful. I've played for some pretty big teams. I've played for my country quite a few times and for managers without sentiment.

"That's one of the things when you play for Sir Alex Ferguson, Fabio Capello and Sven Goran Eriksson, the managers I have played under - they don't pick players because they want to fill a stadium with people or to sell shirts.

"I'm very proud of the fact and I have always found it an honour that people want to buy my shirt, that fans turn up to watch the team I am playing in or to see myself. I've always found that a huge honour.

"No, I don't want to be picked on a shirt sale or a stadium filler. I want to be picked because of what I can bring to the team. It's a thing that has happened all the way through my career and I don't want that to change."

He feels he can bring experience and being a good team player to the squad.

Beckham said he has always been vocal about his desire to play at the Olympics and it is one of the reasons he has not retired so he is still available to play for his country.

Speaking in Athens after he took part in the official handover of the Olympic Flame to London, he said: "Everybody knows that I love representing my country.

"I have done that for quite a few years with the national team - 115 times - and I am very proud of that.

"It is one of the reasons I said I would probably not retire from the England team. I always want to be available - whether I get picked or not is a different story.

"I am very proud of my achievements for my country. I have not taken part in an Olympic Games but I would love to be part of the team.

"Fitness has never been a problem all the way through my career. If I am selected I would be in good condition."

Stuart Pearce, boss of the Olympic football team, was in Los Angeles a few weeks ago to see Beckham's form but there was no talk about selection.

Beckham said: "He knows what my fitness is like and he knows what my passion is like. We will see."

If anyone was in any doubt, Beckham stressed again: "I want to play. That's my only objective. Something that I have now is experience. I am 37 and I have experience of playing in big games and big competitions so that is one of the things I have always been able to bring to a team.

"When I was captain that was one of the things I was able to bring to the team, the confidence and the hard work that you need to win.

"Experience will be important because, when you have a team of young kids coming together for the Olympics for a short period of time, it is important to have that experience in there. But we have that in Stuart as well, he has played in big games so we are very lucky."

PA

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