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Team GB.

Team GB?

Upon the appointment of Stuart Pearce as manager of Team GB, the selection of players from all the home nations remains a huge talking point with only a year before the Olympics get underway.

I’m not going into this job looking only to select English players. If at all possible, it should be made up of all the home nations.” Certainly from Pearce’s point of view he is looking to select players from not only England, but the rest of Great Britain. A stance not necessarily reciprocated by the Scottish, Welsh and Irish FA but one which will not go unnoticed at their relevant HQ’s.

The concept of a Team GB entering the London Olympics in 2012 was one which generated much talk and excitement, but at the same time showed a clear lack of solidarity between Great Britain on a footballing front.

With the Scottish and Welsh FA both feeling it could compromise their position as an independent nation, it is understandable that their players have kept quiet over the issue.

However, the statement of intent given by Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsay over their participation in the event could pave the way for many more high profile players to make themselves available for selection.

At the moment Wales haven’t qualified for a major tournament in I don’t know how many years so it would be nice to play in one against the best countries in the world.” Bale obviously has the intention of being involved, and despite being a hugely important player for both club and country, he has now put himself in the forefront of both Pearce and the WFA’s mind.

So what position are Scottish players in?

Well the SFA have reiterated their opposition to the idea which is most important in this situation.

The Scottish Football Association represents the biggest threat to the plans of Team GB, with the chances of their opinion unlikely to change.

However, they have no right to block any call ups by the GB Olympic Team to any of their players and the decision will rest solely with the player and his club.

Also, the European Championships in 2012 have to be taken into account when any players are selected, being the second most important international footballing event on the calendar.

Again however, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been unable to qualify for this event so effectively all their players would have the ‘summer off’ and therefore be available.

Undoubtedly, the quality which could be brought together by a Team GB side could amount to a Olympic glory.

As Pearce has already stated he will not only select players from England, so there is a huge opportunity for players from the home nations to sample the biggest sporting event in the world, adding to their experience.

The question is who would be good enough to represent Team GB?

From an English perspective, despite the recent decline in quality from their youth teams, they still have an array of talent to pick from for this event.

With Pearce also the Under 21 manager, there is no one better suited to picking the best young talent they have.

The squad will be made up of 18 players who all must be born either on, or after, 1 January 1989 – but three players over this age can also be selected in the side.

This then paves the way for players such as Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Craig Bellamy and Steven Davis to be drafted in to add experience to the squad.

Fletcher is arguably the best Scottish player, but after the encouraging Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, players such as Barry Bannan, David Goodwillie and Danny Wilson could all push for a place in the squad.

Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsay are without a doubt the best of a golden generation of Wales players and would be certain of a call-up.

Northern Ireland’s opposition to the Team GB could be seen as redundant by 2012, with the country having no real top-class players capable of making the squad.

Pearce’s position could be seen as an enviable one, but at the same time one which carries a lot of baggage.

With near free-reign on the best young talent in the UK, he must fight against the politics of the Football Associations to ensure he selects the best Team GB possible.

As a Scottish Fan who has only witnessed his country at an international tournament once, I would have no qualms with players such as Bannan, Goodwillie, Wilson or even Fletcher getting a call-up for the GB side.

As long as FIFA stick to their view that all the home nations will remain independent for the rest of the international events, then the Olympics participation will do nothing but galvanise the UK.

So, if I was Stuart Pearce and the tournament was next week, this would be my selection for Team GB.

     Allan McGregor (+21)

Chris Smalling                    Phil Jones                                            Danny Wilson                    Kyle Walker

 Jack Wilshere

    Aaron Ramsay                                   Tom Cleverley

Ryan Giggs(+21)                                     Danny Wellbeck                                  Daniel Sturridge

Subs – Oxlade-Chamberlain, Bannan, Steven Davis(+21), Ross Barkley, Goodwillie, Rodwell, Fielding.

THINK YOU COULD DO BETTER? Get a bit of discussion and give me your Team GB below.

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4 responses »

  1. Mark Fitzpatrick

    Wouldn’t honestly bother me if any Scottish players played and I’m not too sure why the SFA seemed so apposed to the idea. I’d be surprised if the team was that strong in all honesty especially if England go far in the Euros. I can’t see Ferguson, Wenger etc being too happy with Wellbeck, Wilshere and the like playing all summer.

    Foster (over 23)
    Walker
    Smalling
    Jones
    Wilson
    Wilshere
    Ramsey
    Cleaverly
    Bannan
    Wellbeck
    Sturridge

    That would be my team if all players were available for selection but as I said I can’t see the “big clubs” wanting their players playing all summer.

    Reply
  2. The appointment of Pearce will only have made the Team GB haters up here stronger. During hid playing days he was known as a Scots hater, refused to shake hands in Euro 96 and has a bad reputation up here. For him to ask the Scottish fans to get behind his team is a joke. The majority of us will be supporting the other 15 teams.
    The positive out of this is he has a track record of failure during his time with the England under 21’s. The under 21 competition this summer was a classic example of what will happen in the summer. I guess like 1966 all the England (sorry GB) games will be played in London.

    Reply
  3. Archie Gemmel left foot

    Jonny, another good blog, however as a regular long suffering Scotland fan, I cannot bring myself to see/watch/support any young or established Scottish player pulling on some kind of 4 nations strip. It’s long been an issue of other nations that the uk has 4 teams represented in every tournament and I would not trust FIFA or uefa to give in to pressure.
    If you want to follow the true Olympic spirit then having guys paid £50k plus a week doesn’t quite fit in!
    My rant over, by the way seen you have a good game a few weeks ago for cum united, the other team I follow.
    Stephen chalmers

    Reply
  4. Kieron Stallard

    I dont really understand the SFA’s concerns about the tournament. The squad in all probability will be made up of mostly English players and surely the Scottish players selected ( If any ) ! would benefit from the experience. I really doubt Wilshere would take part even if he wanted to with Wenger probably forcing him to pull out , especially if England go far in the euros. Though with the likes of Jones, Smalling , Cleverley and Welbeck i think they will be included. I really doubt any 1 of them will be first choice for England throughout the Euros and doubt any of them will play in the majority of games , with the exception of Welbeck due to Rooneys ban. Personally i think Bale and Giggs will take part and Beckham will be there in some sort of role be that a player or coach or both. I agree mostly with jonnys team apart from the exception of Bannan in place of Wilshere with |Ramsay dropping into a sitting role or a straight swap with Wilshere and Rodwell. Doubt McGregor would be there. Though in England get knocked out early the squad could be completely different .

    Fielding

    Walker Smalling Jones Gibbs

    Rodwell

    Ramsely Cleverley

    Sturridge Bale

    Welbeck

    Reply

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