I selected best possible squad - Pearce
Published : 03 Jul 2012 07:17:09
Stuart Pearce has maintained he was damned if he did, damned if he didn't when it came to picking David Beckham for Great Britain's Olympic squad.
The omission of Beckham from Pearce's 18-man party for the London Games has caused a storm, with the head coach having to defend his selection repeatedly when he named those who would go for gold. He said Beckham was left out for purely football reasons.
Pearce, who chose Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards as his three over-aged players for the under-23 tournament, said: "I realised that whatever three over-age players I picked would cause, I wouldn't say controversy, but people would be polarised probably of certain opinions. People would say, 'Why is he in? Why isn't he in?'"
He said it would not have been play to give a place to Beckham based on the fact he played a role in securing the Games for London, and added: "I have to make sure in my own mind that I have picked the best possible squad.
"I have done due diligence in watching the players as much as I possibly can and our scouting network have been out since the day I was announced as manager.
"I knew full well that if didn't get on the plane and go to the States and see David play then people would say, 'Why haven't you done that?' I've got on the plane and seen him three times and also watched the majority of his games on DVD.
"I still get asked the question, 'Why have you gone out to watch him?' The reason I have gone out to watch him is because everyone has been treated in exactly the same way.
"I've tried to watch all the players, check the form of all the players accordingly and pick a squad that is going to be competitive in the Olympics."
Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt insisted he was not angry at Beckham's omission, but admitted he was not happy about the way he learnt of it. Hunt confirmed he the first he had heard about it was when the 37-year-old issued a statement expressing his disappointment last week.
That was branded a diplomatic faux pas at the time and Hunt said: "In an ideal world, I would have liked to have learned earlier but, in all good partnerships, and this is a partnership, sometimes things don't quite go to plan."