David Beckham has not been selected for the TeamGB Olympic football squad. The 37-year-old former England skipper said:
“Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me. I would have been honoured to have been part of this unique Team GB squad. Like everyone, I will be hoping they can win the gold.”
Beckham made manager Stuart Pearce’s shortlist of 35 players but was overlooked for the final 18-man squad as one of three players over the age of 23 allowed to compete in the Olympics. Instead Pearce picked Manchester City defender Micah Richards ahead of him as he wanted more defensive cover in the squad. Richards has been included alongside Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs and Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy as the three over-age players.
Beckham was part of the Olympic flame handover ceremony in May, bringing it to Britain for the torch relay. He played a major role as a sporting ambassador when London won the 2012 bid, and has made no secret of his desire to captain Team GB.
London 2012 chief Lord Coe said he would be talking to Beckham about a role during the Olympics.
“David has been an extraordinary supporter – probably our number one supporter – of the Games from the very beginning and is keen to continue his enthusiastic support right to the end. He is from East London and knows how important the Games and sport are to young people. He is a great role model.”
“Never thought for a second that David Beckham would be excluded from GB’s team. Terrible shame for Beckham having given so much to the Olympic bid and football.”
Former Wales international and pundit Robbie Savage tweeted:
“Why was Beckham on the shortlist in the first place, then not pick him? Disgrace!”
I have to agree with Lineker and Savage it does seem a very bizarre move, and whilst it might have been sentimental I think it was important for young people watching a man who has been a fantastic ambassador and role model for the sport.