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Forrest out of Olympic contention

22 May 2012 17:47:10

Forrest out of Olympic contention

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has told Team GB coach Stuart Pearce that James Forrest will not be available for the Olympics.

Scotland winger Forrest, who remained on Pearce's shortened list of contenders, missed the last two months of the season with a calf injury and Lennon says he will not be fit enough to go to the Games. The 20-year-old has previously said he would rather play for Celtic in the Champions League qualifiers, which clash with the Olympic tournament.

Speaking to STV, Lennon outlined that he did not expect to lose players for the tournament. He said: "Certainly not the British players, we've spoken with Stuart on that. James Forrest will not be going because he's been injured. Stuart's aware of that. He was in his thoughts but the fact that he's been out for so long probably rules him out."

South Korea have said they plan to call up Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-yueng but the 23-year-old's birthday falls weeks outside the deadline that would make his attendance compulsory under FIFA rules.

Lennon said: "As regards the rest of the players, we'll speak to the other federations regarding that and hopefully there will be some sort of resolution where they are playing with Celtic when the time comes."

Another Scotland player who looks unlikely to be involved in Team GB is Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan.

The 22-year-old initially expressed an interest in playing in the tournament but his attitude has changed after being informed of the opposition of some Scotland fans to Team GB. The Scottish Football Association, although powerless to prevent players from taking part, do not want Scots involved in case it risks the country's independence within FIFA.

"When I was first approached about the Olympics I wasn't aware how people back home were reacting to it," Bannan told newspapers.

"I'm fiercely proud to be Scottish and want to play for Scotland. The last thing I want to happen is for the supporters to turn against me and for me to do something that would damage Scotland.

"I will now speak with the manager (Craig Levein) and then take things from there."


PA

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