Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Monday July 2 2012
Arsenal`s Aaron Ramsey has been selected to represent the Great Britain Squad in this summer`s London Olympics. It`s the first time a British football team has been constructed since 1960. But with London hosting this summer`s games, the pressure for Team GB was too intense to continue to ignore. The format calls for an 18 man, U-23 squad, with an allowance for three players over that age. (In this squad, Craig Bellamy, Ryan Giggs and Micah Richards make up that triumvirate).
Manager Stuart Pearce rather confirmed that he intended to take the tournament seriously with his controversial decision to omit London 2012 ambassador David Beckham. Whilst South American nations tend to take the Olympics very seriously, there are no current plans to further the remit of Team GB after the summer`s games, so any building legacy appears limited. The squad also doesn`t include any Scots or Irishmen, presumably as their F.A`s were most outspoken about the threat to their autonomy a Great Britain side poses. Pearce also pledged not to pick any players that had participated in Euro 2012.
Nevertheless, Arsenal`s Ramsey makes the final cut, though Kieran Gibbs misses out; with Ryan Bertrand and Danny Rose preferred. Park Ju Young has also been selected to represent South Korea in the summer games. Team GB kick off their group against Senegal at Old Trafford on July 26th, before taking on UAE at Wembley on 29th July. They finish their group with a Cardiff encounter against Uruguay on August 1st.
Andre Santos did not make the cut to be one of Brazil`s over 23 representatives and Johan Djourou was not on Switzerland`s preliminary list to be one of their over 23s. Likewise, Mikel Arteta did not make Spain`s list, Abou Diaby didn`t make France`s, Ryo Miyachi was not in the Japan side and Jack Wilshere was deemed not fit for selection for Team GB. So Ramsey and Park are likely to be Arsenal`s sole representatives in London. Both will miss the pre season tour of Asia as a result. LD.
Date:Monday July 2 2012
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