Premier League - Pearce ponders Giggs 2012 call

Fri, 21 Oct 09:13:00 2011

Ryan Giggs, the most decorated player in British football, could grace the twilight of his career with the chance of an Olympic medal.

2010-11 Carling Cup Manchester United's Ryan Giggs taunts the Leeds United fans after scoring the third goal - 0

The 37-year-old Manchester United star could force his way into the Great Britain men's squad for London 2012 as one of three overaged players. Stuart Pearce was unveiled as the head coach for the team on Thursday and refused to rule out finding a place in his 18-man squad for Welshman Giggs, who has never been to a major tournament with his country.

Pearce said: "I won't close the door on anyone, especially if you are talking about an individual of Ryan's ability. It's important you go with your strongest team with a view to winning the tournament. That's absolutely crucial. It is a great opportunity to showcase British football on our own soil. I'm very excited by it."

On the possible inclusion of 36-year-old David Beckham, who has already said he wants to play, Pearce was less forthcoming.

"I've no idea as yet," Pearce said. "I've not seen him play recently. He's a bit too old for the Under-21s. Everyone will be up for selection. The FA have said to me the decision is totally yours, you pick who you deem right and proper to be part of this spectacle."

It is even possible Wayne Rooney could yet play at the Games. Rooney is banned for the first three matches of Euro 2012, but after initially intimating that no players involved in Poland and Ukraine would be selected for the Olympics, the Football Association appear to have moved the goalposts.

When asked if Rooney might be included if Fabio Capello's England side went out in the group phase of Euro 2012, Club England managing director Adrian Bevington said: "Our real hope and aspiration is that Wayne can be available for the European Championships. Once we know where we stand there, it is one for Stuart with Fabio (Capello) really."

Capello's squad for Euro 2012 is likely to include young players such as Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, and Manchester United's Danny Welbeck and Phil Jones - all of whom are eligible to play in the Under-23 Olympic squad and would be automatic picks for Pearce.

Asked whether players could now play at both Euro 2012 and the Olympics, Bevington said: "What we don't want to do is lock ourselves in.

"We are aware of the challenges which will be presented for any player to play in both tournaments, but we are not going to lock ourselves into a situation which says no-one who goes to the Euros can actually go to the Olympics. Any of those situations would have to be managed sensibly and sensitively."

However, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted it is not realistic for players to take part in both competitions.

Ferguson, speaking ahead of Sunday's derby clash with Manchester City at Old Trafford, thinks it is unrealistic to expect players to double up.

He said: "This has been spurred by Argentina and Nigeria sending out their strongest teams (to the Olympics) last time.

"That has given the BOA an opening. But our league is different. Players need their rest and to recover.

"I do not see how it is possible (doubling up with Euros). I am sure what I am saying won't make any difference but it is a fact."

PA Sport

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