North and Scotland snubbed in Stuart Pearce’s GB Olympic squad
COACH Stuart Pearce has ignored the claims of Scottish and Northern Ireland players, with a Great Britain Olympics squad heavily weighted in favour of players who have featured in his England under-21 squads.
As revealed by Telegraph Sport on Saturday Tottenham’s Gareth Bale has been ruled out of the squad with injury, and David Beckham is also omitted.
As expected Ryan Giggs, Micah Richards and Craig Bellamy are the three over-age players.
Pearce has selected three Swansea players, Scott Sinclair, Joe Allen and Neil Taylor, two from Tottenham in defenders Danny Rose and Stephen Caulker. Chelsea also have two representatives in Daniel Sturridge and full-back Ryan Bertrand.
Pearce said: "It has not been an easy task to finalise my squad for this tournament, and the stature of the competition and uniqueness of the occasion has underlined the importance of every choice I have made.
"With just 18 places it is very different from other international tournaments, the options are limited, but it is the Olympic Games and every player in this squad should be very proud they have a chance to compete for a gold medal on home soil.
"I remember the huge advantage we gained from playing in front of our own fans during Euro 96, and I'm sure with the nation behind us it could be a fantastic tournament for us."
Team GB's Olympic campaign begins on July 26 when they face Senegal at Old Trafford. They play the United Arab Emirates at Wembley on July 29 before their final group game against Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium on August 1.
Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt said he expected the public to embrace the side despite this being their first match as a Great Britain side for 52 years.
"After a 52-year absence from the Olympic Games, it is fantastic to welcome the men's football squad to Team GB for London 2012. Representing your country at the Olympic Games is a very unique, special experience and I am sure this talented and determined group of men's footballers will play a full part as members of Team GB at our home Olympic Games.
"The squad selected possesses a good blend of youth and experience, with 16 of the 18 selected athletes playing their football at the very highest level in the Premier League last season. In Stuart Pearce they have an experienced and passionate manager and I am sure the younger players will learn a lot from their time with Team GB at the Olympic Games.
"Football fans from the across the UK are regarded worldwide as among the most passionate and knowledgeable supporters in the world and this summer offers a unique opportunity to get behind Team GB on home soil. I am confident that this famous vocal support will drive the young players on to produce many memorable and inspirational performances at the Olympic Games this summer."
Squad: 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).