Paul Parker

Giggs leadership will be vital for Team GB

Paul Parker

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Ryan Giggs's leadership skills could be tested to the limit while captaining Team GB

Stuart Pearce described picking Ryan Giggs as his captain for the Team GB Olympic football team as "a no-brainer", and it is hard to disagree. Once it was confirmed that David Beckham would not be in the squad, there was only ever one real candidate.

Considering that he is the most decorated player in the history of English football, it is odd to think that Giggs is actually a novice when it comes to playing in a tournament like the Olympic one. Having never reached a major international finals with Wales, Giggs has never experienced a campaign of three group games and then a knockout phase all crammed into a couple of weeks.

Despite that, his vast experience amassed across more than two decades of playing the game as a professional will be of great use, both for him and for the group of young team-mates he will be skippering for the summer.

That experience is likely to be called upon sooner rather than later, specifically when Team GB play their warm-up game against Brazil in Middlesbrough.

Brazil are one of the tournament favourites, who have a history of taking their Olympic football very seriously. Their four strikers for London are Neymar, Hulk, Pato and Leandro Damiao, a line-up most senior national team coaches would kill for.

Uruguay and Spain will also bring squads brimming with well-known stars to the Games, with Spain even including players who have only just come home from Euro 2012.

As such, the British team will do well to avoid a heavy defeat against Brazil, especially as it will be their first proper match together. If I'm honest, I would question the wisdom of booking such a match, which is less of a warm-up and more of a baptism of fire. Psychologically it could do more harm than good.

Giggs will have to be a real leader for his young team, both on and off the pitch. From watching England play this summer, we can probably assume the Team GB are not going to see as much of the ball as many of their opponents, so when they do have Giggs needs to be an assured and effective presence in possession. Without it, he must make sure that everyone sticks to their jobs and maintain their composure.

Should they lose against Brazil, that is when Giggs's leadership will truly be called upon. For all his success in the game, he has experienced his fair share of disappointments, too, and will need to be able to lift the players' spirits when they face adversity.

I don't think he will be a big dressing-room shouter of a captain, but I do think people will be surprised at how vocal he will be with the other players when things aren't being done the way he wants. Even at an early age at United, he would not be afraid to share his thoughts if he received a poor pass or things weren't going right.

He may be venturing into the unknown as much as the rest of Team GB, but Giggs's leadership will be vital if they are to represent Britain well at the Olympics and prove the sceptics wrong.

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