Team GB: A Pearce Own Goal

Stuart Pearce

‘Weasel’ Pearce

International football in England wouldn’t be what it is without Stuart Pearce. However, that’s not a compliment to the former player. Pearce has managed to weasel his way into any available international position since leaving his post at Manchester City.

The upcoming Olympics will add to a mountain of reasons why Pearce should be permanently shifted to the side, only making an appearance at an international game via his purchased ticket.

A gold medal is far out of reach for Great Britain at these Olympics and I’m refusing to acknowledge the horrible “Team GB” moniker. The talents on display from other nations means the chance of any medal is far beyond the realms of realistic and achievable goals. Instead, the Olympics should be seen as a stepping stone and an integral learning curve for many of Britain’s best young talent.

However, that reasoning has escaped Stuart Pearce – who really has not offered anything of note since setting up permanent residence at the FA’s headquarters.

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Like those from South America, the Olympics should be regarded as an important event in the international calendar. Sadly, it appears we’re too good for that. We’ve rubbished the idea of Olympic football and looked down upon it as an unnecessary distraction ahead of the new season. Brazil are excelling, as are Spain. Uruguay will also announce themselves as a genuine contender on this international stage.

But nothing similar comes from Pearce’s squad. The team is technically inferior to other nations; but with Pearce at the helm, we’re going to be subjected to painfully uniform displays on the pitch, as well as constant reminders that youth football is not in safe hands in this country.

Ryan Giggs will captain the team at the tournament, but I’ve yet to land on a reason for his inclusion in the squad. His veteran leadership and unwavering ability on the pitch is a bonus, but isn’t this a tournament that is supposed to focus on the U23s – what is his role on the pitch?

And what of Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards? Bellamy has no place in the current squad, and even if he did, Pearce opted to play him on the wrong wing against Brazil in the pre-tournament friendly. And just for good measure, Richards took up a role in centre-back, a position that he hasn’t held consistently for a number of seasons.

Where other nations are excelling is through their decision to enhance their squads with the use of the three senior players, rather than just adding for the sake of it. Pearce’s three options genuinely do seem like a lazy attempt to fill a final squad.

Marvin Sordell’s inclusion is confusing, and Danny Rose’s involvement is baffling. Even more so, the manager has failed to acknowledge one of the more exciting talents in the lower leagues by overlooking Jordan Rhodes. Yes he’s untested at the highest level in England, but isn’t that the purpose of the tournament? A real goal-machine and a player many are curious about. With Rhodes in the team, the possibility for a deep run in the tournament would have seemed a little more realistic.

The disappointments do not end there: Kyle Walker has been left out, too. And even if the Tottenham full-back is still suffering from injury, where is Kyle Naughton?

James Tomkins is a good inclusion, as is Jack Butland, likely to be the starting goalkeeper. Tom Cleverly’s return from injury is also going to be a plus for the team and himself. But there’s got to be a concern that the team is missing something. At the very least, it fails to raise as much interest and hope as it could have done.

With Great Britain in a group alongside Uruguay, Senegal and UAE, there is a possibility for further advancement. However, the team did not fair well against Brazil in their friendly. It was a fairly pedestrian match with Brazil never really pushing past second gear – they didn’t have to.

The squad that Pearce has assembled seems to lack any real direction. Rather it’s a gathering together of players that only goes to showcase the manager’s lack of knowledge beyond the Premier League. Other talents from Southampton have been overlooked, as have those from Crystal Palace, and former Crewe Alexandra midfielder Nick Powell.

Olympic Football Betting Tips Conclusion

Great Britain are at the unwarranted and ungenerous price of 10/1 in the betting to make a splash at this summer’s Olympics. But with the might of rival nations greater than what Pearce has at his disposal, we should consider this tournament a missed opportunity to accelerate the development of many of Britain’s young players.

The front runners in favourites Brazil (6/4) and second-favourites Spain (5/2) should go well but the talented URUGUAY team look over-priced at 7/1. Bet on them each-way.

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