New recruit Matthew Gibson tells us exactly how British football has shot itself in the foot.
On 28th June 2012 every Brit, apart from Man City fans, heard the news they were all dreading. David Beckham had been left out of the Olympic squad. However, while it was sad to see a man who had done so much in terms of getting the games to London left out, from a footballing point of view this was a step forward by Stuart Pearce. It was a clear statement not only to Great Britain but to the rest of the world that success clearly trumped sentiment.
It was a shock to many that Beckham wasn’t included but I can’t fault Pearce’s decision. In the one game that Pearce saw live, Beckham was poor, even by his ageing standards. This article though is not about Beckham; his inclusion is just a Twitter debate now. Leaving out Beckham was bold and correct, but he can feel rightly annoyed at those chosen instead.
Don’t get me wrong; Bellamy, Giggs, and Richards are all quality players. Richards will want to prove his worth on an international platform, having seen Martin Kelly jump in his seat on the plane to Poland and Ukraine like the annoying friend that always manages to shout ‘shotgun’ before you when you get to the car. Out of the three players, I feel Richards is the only one that represents any form of logical decision from Psycho (I’m assuming you mean Sir Stuart Pearce. Ed). Bellamy’s knees are almost entirely plastic, and Giggs too is showing his age; of course I cannot deny there is something special in that left boot of his but if we are selecting players on their ability to take a set piece need I remind you of England 2-2 Greece in 2001? (Teddy Sheringham did score a cracker that day…Ed) Giggs is good but I worry that his selection had a tinge of sentiment to it. The man is 38 after all. There’s a chap called Frank something, he just won the Champions League. A man who would have been exploring the sites of Poland had his thigh not played up a couple weeks before the tournament. I hear he has a free summer. Personally, I would have chosen some younger blood to play out wide instead of Bellamy, Adam Johnson springs to mind, another man unfortunate not to have spent some holiday time in Eastern Europe, and a player I consider to be one of the best in Great Britain. Apparently an opinion not shared by Stuart Pearce.
Aside from the over 23s we must really focus on the quality of the youngsters. After all it’s the team with the best under 23s that will win gold, and looking at the squad the current players are good quality. Not great just good. The likes of Tom Cleverley, Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey and Daniel Sturridge are all a step ahead of the likes of Jack Cork, Danny Rose and Marvin Sordell.
The question I have though is do the Football Associations really care if Team GB win or not? You would assume not having seen what has happened recently. A little under 4000 miles away Gareth Bale is busy scoring for Spurs; you would think that the best player the squad has at it’s disposal would be forced/want to return. Evidently not. Along with Rooney, Hart and, you could argue, Gerrard, Bale is one of the few world-class players in Great Britain and his absence will of course be a detriment to the squad.
Finally, the rule stating that any player who went to the Euros can’t play at the Olympics baffles me. Can the F.A really sit there and tell us the squad wouldn’t be improved by the presence of Kelly, Jones, Henderson and Oxlade-Chamberlain? They made an exception for Butland so why not do the same, especially given that none of the 4 featured extensively during the tournament. It isn’t just English players either, what do the likes of James Forrest and Jordan Rhodes have to do make the cut?
It’s really a shame because had there been just a little more clear thinking, both from Pearce and the collective F.A.s, Team GB could’ve gone a long way. Unfortunately now we are most likely going to have to settle with being embarrassed by one the world-class players that did manage to make it to the Olympics. Be it Suarez, Neymar or Mata. Oh and yes, that is the same Juan Mata who scored in Spain’s 4-0 final win against Italy.