• London Olympics 2012

Beckham in provisional Team GB squad

ESPN staff
June 8, 2012 « London 2012 just the start for GB basketball | Chartbeat test »
David Beckham is believed to be on Stuart Pearce's provisional squad list © PA Photos
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David Beckham is expected to be included in Team GB's provisional 35-man squad for the Olympic football tournament when it is submitted on Friday.

With Craig Bellamy having already confirmed his place in the squad for the forthcoming men's football tournament at London 2012, Beckham is set to fill the second of the three places for over-age players - with Ryan Giggs increasingly expected to complete the trio.

Manager Stuart Pearce will cut down the squad to 18 on July 6, when only three of the players included will be over-23.

Beckham is expected to survive that final cut too, after helping London win the bid for the Olympic Games and playing a key ambassadorial role for the event ever since.

Critics have suggested that Beckham - who is a brand ambassador for a number of high-profile companies - will be included due to commercial and ticketing considerations rather than what he will offer on the pitch, but the 37-year-old has dismissed the suggestion as "disrespectful" and insists he only wants to be involved if he makes the team on merit.

"Whenever I have been asked about shirt sales or filling stadiums it has always felt it is a bit disrespectful," Beckham said. "Throughout my career I have been pretty successful, I've played for some pretty big teams, represented my country quite a few times, and played for managers without sentiment.

"When you play for Sir Alex Ferguson, Fabio Capello, Sven Goran Eriksson or the managers that I have played under, they don't pick players because they want to fill a stadium or particularly to sell shirts.

"I have always found it an honour that people have wanted to buy my shirt and an honour that fans turn up to watch the team I am playing in. I have always found that a huge honour.

"But no, I don't want to be picked for shirt sales or as a stadium-filler, I want to be picked for what I can bring to the team. That has been the case throughout my career and I don't want that to change."

Elsewhere, goalkeeper Jack Butland is believed to be on the provisional list, despite currently being in Poland as part of England's Euro 2012 squad. The FA had previously stated that no player involved in the Euros squad would also go to the Olympics but Pearce is believed to be prepared to make an exception for Butland - as long as his club side Birmingham release him for a second summer tournament.

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