London 2012: Pearce and Powell turn focus to squad selection
Team GB football head coaches Hope Powell and Stuart Pearce want to start putting their squads together for the Games
Team GB football head coaches Stuart Pearce and Hope Powell are switching their focus onto selecting their squads after the draw for the Olympic Games at Wembley.
Pearce’s men’s team will open up at Manchester United’s Old Trafford on 26 July against Senegal, who beat Oman in a play-off, before facing UAE and Uruguay.
The GB women will kick the Games off at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium against New Zealand 24 hours earlier, and will also play Cameroon and Brazil.
Pearce, who re-affirmed he would also take England, if asked, to the Euros, says he is under no pressure to include all nationalities, or star names such as David Beckham, in his 18-man squad.
He said: “David Beckham will be treated the same as everybody else, on form and fitness.
“I have a duty of care to Team GB to win a gold medal. I’m not under pressure to include star names and form and fitness will be the main drivers.
“We’ll have a look at the youngsters, see we’re short and then look at outside that. I’d be quite happy to take a full Welsh side into the Stadium, it’s not a matter of nationality.”
Powell is looking forward to the challenge of managing a GB team at the Olympics, in a difficult group, and wants to get on with picking her squad.
She said: “My job is to pick the best possible team. We’ve not been told to pick a certain amount of non-English players, we’ve been allowed to pick our best team.
“There’s not any game that’s easy and that’s the first hurdle, you’ve got to get out the group. We’ll do our best to prepare.
“Generally I’m quite pleased. Any tournament is going to be tough games but it’s a great opportunity to raise our profile against Brazil at Wembley.
“The press for us that day could be unprecedented and we’re really excited by the prospect that it’s the opening event.”
Pearce added that he expects players who make his final shortlist of 18, with four reserves, to be available, despite club complaints, and hopes they embrace the possibility of a medal.
“I know club managers have got a duty of care to the players but we’ll be returning them to the clubs before the season and all they’ll miss is some pre-season games.
“If I was a player, I’d prefer to be playing at Old Trafford, Wembley and the Millennium Stadium and go back to my club with a medal.”
© Sportsbeat 2012