• London Olympics 2012

Sordell in Team GB squad, no Beckham

ESPN staff
July 2, 2012 « West Ham boss wants salary cap | Chartbeat test »

Bolton striker Marvin Sordell is the surprise inclusion in Stuart Pearce's Team GB squad for London 2012, with David Beckham omitted, as was expected.

Sordell, who made only three appearances for Bolton last season after joining in January from Watford, is joined by several more recognisable names: Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey, Manchester United's Tom Cleverley and Chelsea pair Daniel Sturridge and Ryan Bertrand.

Reports last week about the over-age players selected by Pearce proved correct, with Manchester City's Micah Richards, Manchester United's Ryan Giggs and Liverpool's Craig Bellamy all getting the nod.

Jack Butland, who went to Euro 2012 as England's third choice goalkeeper, is also in. Players surprisingly not involved include Connor Wickham of Sunderland, Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey and Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs.

There are five Welsh and 13 English players, with none from Scotland or Northern Ireland.

"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," Pearce said.

"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."

Regarding his decision to omit Beckham, Pearce said: "I spoke to the [FA] chairman some time before Christmas, Mr [David] Bernstein, who offered me the opportunity to pick this squad. If at that stage he had said there were certain individuals that must be in the squad I probably wouldn't have done the job. I don't know any manager worth his salt that would have agreed to do the job in that situation.

"In regards to ticket sales and merchandising, I'm a football man and I pick solely on football ability. That's my opinion, and I have to back my opinion. That's what I've done here. I feel very sorry for David, I understand how much it meant to him to be a part of this but I have a duty of care to all the players and I think I've done that."

With only English and Welsh players named in the squad, some criticism has been aimed in Pearce's direction for overlooking those from Scotland and Northen Ireland. He responded, saying: "As I said before, if we roll the clock back seven or eight months, I've got a list of names and written down ability-wise who is good enough to do a job. I'm not picking on personality, I'm not picking on ticket sales and I'm certainly not picking on nationality. I couldn't even tell you how many players from Wales are in this squad or England. They are individuals that are all Olympians, all 18 players are Olympians; there are no nationalities there in my eyes."

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Birmingham), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough)

Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Steven Caulker (Tottenham), Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Neil Taylor (Swansea), James Tomkins (West Ham)

Midfielders: Joe Allen (Swansea), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Jack Cork (Southampton), Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Danny Rose (Tottenham)

Strikers: Craig Bellamy (Liverpool), Scott Sinclair (Swansea), Marvin Sordell (Bolton), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea)

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