“I’m baffled by Stuart Pearce’s Olympic squad”
The Olympic Games are just around the corner and the public’s first chance to get a glimpse of Team GB comes when they take on the might of Brazil at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium on Friday night. Tickets were slow to sell, and the Life’s a Pitch panel assesses whether Stuart Pearce’s squad selection could be the reason behind the lack of enthusiasm.
Footballer-turned-journalist Adrian Clarke certainly isn’t impressed with Pearce’s selection. “I don’t think the squad will do any favours toward ticket sales, I was really disappointed with it. Let’s start with the strikers: there aren’t any. Daniel Sturridge, Craig Bellamy and Marvin Sordell: none of them plays as a centre forward, they all play as part of a front three so there’s no out-and-out guy to lead the line.”
The former Arsenal player isn’t finished there, though. “Look at the over-age selections: Micah Richards, a guy who turned down England in the summer, is he the best selection Pearce could have made in that position? You’ve got Ryan Giggs, a sentimental choice, and Craig Bellamy, I don’t understand that selection either. I’m baffled by Pearce’s squad; he hasn’t got the balance right between sentimentality, the strongest side possible and the best youngsters. It’s going to be fascinating to see how they fare, but I fear for their chances.”
Who should Pearce have picked then? the Sunday Mirror’s David Walker has some suggestions. “You look at some of the names and if you’re looking at a British element, [Scottish International] Steven Fletcher has had an incredible couple of years. [Fellow Scots] Jordan Rhodes and Steven Davis, you go through the different people and there are some names there that would have enhanced the Britishness of it. What about Joe Cole getting picked after the season he’s had, what about Phil Neville or Paul Scholes instead of Giggs?”
Yet despite the criticism in the press, journalist and author Ian Ridley still thinks people will show their support during the games. “I must admit, I haven’t been that intrigued so far,” he admits. “But once the David Beckham controversy [over his non-selection] is out of the way and we can concentrate on the football, I’m sure the country will get behind it, even though it’s been a hard sell. It’s what we do, isn’t it? We’re among the best sports fans in the world and we turn up.”
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the play button in the image above.
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