Pearce confirms line-up for London
With just 25 days until the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the British Olympic Association (BOA) has announced the 18 players selected to represent Team GB in the men’s football competition this summer.
The announcement was made today at Wembley Stadium in London, which will host the gold medal match on the 11 August.
London 2012 marks the first time that Team GB will compete in the men’s football competition since the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, where they finished third in their group. Team GB will kick off their campaign when they face Senegal at Old Trafford in Manchester on 26 July.
The match takes place on the first day of competitive action in the men’s football tournament, and a day before the Opening Ceremony. Team GB will also take on the United Arab Emirates at Wembley on 29 July, before completing their group stage fixtures against Uruguay - who qualified for London 2012 ahead of reigning gold medallists Argentina - at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on the 1st August.
In line with Olympic regulations, the squad contains just three players over 23 years of age, with Welshmen Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy joined by English defender Micah Richards. Between them the three bring a vast amount of international experience to the team; Giggs has represented Wales 64 times and Bellamy 69, with Richards making 13 appearances for England to date.
Wales captain and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey is included in the squad and he is joined by Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley. In terms of attacking options, Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge and Swansea City forward Scott Sinclair are included in the squad, and both performed well for their clubs last season, scoring 13 and 8 goals respectively in the Premier League.
West Ham defender James Tomkins is included in the squad after an impressive season last term, which saw him named in the Championship PFA Team of the Year as West Ham achieved promotion to the Premier League. He is joined by Chelsea left-back and Champions League winner Ryan Bertrand.
Of the 18 man squad, 15 are currently playing their football in the Premier League, with Middlesbrough’s Jason Steele, Bolton’s Marvin Sordell, and Birmingham’s Jack Butland playing in the Championship.
Manager Stuart Pearce, who made 78 international appearances for England, leads the squad and will take control of his first match with Team GB when they meet Brazil in a warm-up fixture at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium on the 20 July.
"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."
The addition of the men’s footballers brings the total number of athletes officially selected to compete for Team GB at London 2012 to 417 across 32 sport disciplines. Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said: “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 15 of the 18 selected athletes playing their football at the very highest level in the Premier League this 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.
The players selected for Team GB are:
Jack Butland (Birmingham City)
Jason Steele (Middlesbrough)
Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea)
Steven Caulker (Tottenham Hotspur)
Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion)
Micah Richards (Manchester City)
Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur)
Neil Taylor (Swansea City)
James Tomkins (West Ham United)
Joe Allen (Swansea City)
Tom Cleverley (Manchester United)
Jack Cork (Southampton)
Ryan Giggs (Manchester United)
Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)
Scott Sinclair (Swansea City)
Craig Bellamy (Liverpool)
Marvin Sordell (Bolton Wanderers)
Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea)