Welsh winger Ryan Giggs was included on Monday as one of three
over-age players in the British Olympic football squad announced
by manager Stuart Pearce.
Wales striker Craig Bellamy of Liverpool and Manchester City
defender Micah Richards are the other two in an 18-man squad
predominantly made up of Premier League players.
The omission of Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham
was purely a footballing decision, Pearce told reporters.
"I've got a vast amount of respect for David and what he's
done for the bid process and bringing the Olympics here," said
"But I've also got a duty of care to everybody within the
squad to pick, in my mind, the best possible squad. The only
relevance I really have is footballing terms.
"I know he had a real burning passion to be part of this
squad [but] I don't think there's a manager around who picks on
sentiment," added Pearce.
"With regards to ticket sales, merchandise, whatever... I'm
a football man. I pick solely on football ability and my opinion
and I have to back my opinion."
Pearce said no pressure was ever put on him to include
37-year-old former England captain Beckham for non-footballing
"I have to be comfortable when I get into my bed at night
I've made decisions that are solely on footballing grounds,"
said the former Nottingham Forest and England defender.
"Nothing else. Not on personality, not on who I like as
individuals. David would feature very, very highly on
individuals I like.
"I sat down with the FA chairman [David Bernstein] sometime
before Christmas... if at that stage he would have said to me
certain individuals must be in your squad I probably would not
have done the job," added Pearce.
"Right throughout the process I've had carte blanche to pick
whatever players I deemed necessary. I take my profession very
Pearce ruled out a coaching role for Beckham at the Olympics
but the British team's chef de mission Andy Hunt said the former
Manchester United player had already been approached about being
involved in another unspecified capacity.
"We would be delighted and honoured to have David involved
in some way. That would be fantastic," said Hunt.
Britain's 18-man squad contains 13 Englishmen and five
Welshmen, meaning there is no Scottish or Northern Irish
"I'm not picking on personality, I'm not picking on ticket
sales, I'm certainly not picking on nationality," said Pearce.
"I couldn't even tell you, if I'm being honest, how many
players are from Wales or England. They are all Olympians now
and that's the only way I view them.
"Whenever I have supported a GB member in the Olympics as an
individual myself, I've never looked at their individual
nationality," Pearce added.
"I've seen them as British participants and I hope that will
be the case throughout our isles... whether it be football,
athletics, whatever discipline it may be."
Hosts Britain open their first Olympic football campaign since
1960 when they meet Senegal at United's Old Trafford stadium on
Squad: Joe Allen (Swansea City), Craig Bellamy (Liverpool),
Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Jack Butland (Birmingham City), Steven
Caulker (Tottenham Hotspur), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United),
Jack Cork (Southampton), Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion),
Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Micah
Richards (Manchester City), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur),
Scott Sinclair (Swansea City), Marvin Sordell (Bolton
Wanderers), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough), Daniel Sturridge
(Chelsea), Neil Taylor (Swansea City), James Tomkins (West Ham
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