Allen avoids Olympics row

10 November 2011 08:47

The build-up to Wales' friendly against Norway may have been overshadowed by the ongoing furore over Olympic availability, but midfielder Joe Allen says it is vital that on-field matters are not overlooked ahead of Saturday's clash at Cardiff City Stadium.

Captain Aaron Ramsey and star winger Gareth Bale have spoken of their desire to be involved in Stuart Pearce's GB squad for the 2012 Olympics, a stance which is at odds with the Football Association of Wales who are concerned at losing their individual status within FIFA should the players play a part in the Games.

Swansea playmaker Allen is another who would be eligible to play for Team GB, but he said: "There is game on Saturday and players and staff are only focused on that. These matters are over our heads, as professionals we are here to work hard and train hard for the game."

Gary Speed's side will be looking to continue an upturn in form that has seen them rise from a record low of 117th to 45th in the FIFA world rankings, but recent performances have barely merited a mention since Ramsey and Bale were used in promotional images for the Team GB supporters' shirt.

Nottingham Forest defender Chris Gunter insisted that the matter has had no adverse affect on the squad, and even went as far as to suggest that several players who ply their trade outside the principality had been unaware of the fuss caused by the release of the images.

He said: "To be honest, living in Nottingham, I didn't know they had worn the shirts.

"I didn't know it had become this big situation and I haven't seen any of the photos, I don't think there is an opinion among the players and no one has spoken about it.

"We had a talk about how the FAW can't support the idea of Welsh players playing in the GB team and that was all that was said and that is the only comment there has been.

"They put the shirt on for a photo and took it off again, and I don't think it has affected the squad. Half the players didn't even know it had happened.

"We understand it is a big talking point as the Olympics is a big event. But we have a game to focus on, not something that happens in seven or eight months' time."

Source: PA