Can oldies Beckham and Giggs really be golden at the Olympics?
David Beckham and Ryan Giggs are interested in being involved at the London Olympics, despite being aged 37 and 38 this summer
They’re oldies but can they be golden? That is the question Team GB football coach Stuart Pearce will now juggle as he starts to finalise his selections for this summer’s Olympics.
David Beckham and former Manchester United team-mate Ryan Giggs, who will be aged 37 and 38 respectively at the time of the Games, are among 184 players contacted by the Football Association who did not respond to a deadline ruling themselves out of consideration.
Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole, 30, who has been impressing during his loan spell with French side Lille, has also been contacted and is keen to play.
And Rio Ferdinand, 33, is under consideration – although he is currently ineligible for British Olympic Association selection after serving a nine-month ban for missing a drugs test.
Indeed, only seven of those contacted for inclusion in Pearce’s ‘long list’ – which will need to be whittled down to 18 in the coming months – said they would not be available.
And it’s believed interest has been expressed by Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh players, despite official opposition from their respective home FAs, who fear a British team could jeopardise their fiercely protected independent status for other Fifa tournaments.
Current Wales internationals Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are among the majority who refused to ‘opt out’ of selection.
While Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha, 19, is among the youngest players being considered, having yet to play for Pearce’s under-21 side and not been born when Giggs made his Manchester United debut.
Pearce has already said he will not consider those selected by England manager Fabio Capello for the Euro 2012 finals and while the 16-nation Olympic tournament has an age limit of 23, he will be allowed to pick three over-age players.
“This is an outstanding response and it confirms what we have believed all along, which is that there is widespread interest among players in competing for Team GB at the London 2012 Games,” said BOA communications director Daryll Seibel.
Great Britain’s men’s team will kick-off their Olympic campaign against unknown opponents at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground on Thursday July 26th, the day before the opening ceremony.