Pearce Snubs Beckham
Great Britain are 6/1 with BetVictor to win the London 2012 Olympics men’s football tournament after Stuart Pearce insisted he picked his squad purely on merit.
The spotlight has fallen on Pearce following his decision to leave out former England captain David Beckham, with Craig Bellamy, Ryan Giggs and Micah Richards chosen to fill the over-age quota.
Pearce has selected 13 English players and five from Wales in his 18-man party and Team GB are Evens to top their group table by finishing above Uruguay, Senegal and United Arab Emirates.
“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,” said Pearce.
“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.”
Pearce shrugged off questions about also not picking any Scotland or Northern Ireland players, with 15 of his squad attached to Premier League teams and three in the Championship.
He added: “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. The 18 players are all Olympians now and that’s the only way I view them.”
The Great Britain men’s football squad for the London 2012 Olympics 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).
Olympic Football Fixture List