Pearce names Team GB squad with Bellamy and Giggs fronting strong Welsh contingent
Five Welsh and 13 English players have been selected for Great Britain's men's Olympic squad for London 2012.
Team GB manager Stuart Pearce has not picked any Scottish or Northern Irish players for the tournament.
The announcement of the squad confirmed that David Beckham has missed out with Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards named as the three over-age players allowed - all the others have to be under-23.
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In charge: Stuart Pearce poses at Wembley after his squad announcement
Teaming up: Pearce, Ryan Bertrand and Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt
TEAM GB MEN'S 18-MAN SQUAD
Jack Butland (Birmingham), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough); Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Steven Caulker (Tottenham), Craig Dawson (West Brom), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Neil Taylor (Swansea), James Tomkins (West Ham); Joe Allen (Swansea), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Jack Cork (Southampton), Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Scott Sinclair (Swansea); Craig Bellamy (Liverpool), Marvin Sordell (Bolton), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea).
Swansea have three players named, the most of any club - Scott Sinclair, Joe Allen and Neil Taylor, while Tottenham defender Steven Caulker, who has also been included, was on loan at the Liberty Stadium last season.
Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge is also chosen, as is Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey and Manchester United Tom Cleverley. Tottenham's Gareth Bale would have been selected but has been ruled out due to injury.
Pearce said: 'It has not been an easy task to finalise my squad for this tournament, and the stature of the competition and uniqueness of the occasion has underlined the importance of every choice I have made.
Welsh wonders: United veteran Ryan Giggs and Liverpool's Craig Bellamy are two of Pearce's over-age picks
On the ball: Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley, who launched the Olympics Albert football, is in the squad
TEAM GB MEN'S FIXTURES
Jul 20: v Brazil (Riverside Stadium), 7.45pm
Jul 26: v Senegal (Old Trafford), 7.45pm
Jul 29: v United Arab Emirates (Wembley), 7.45pm
Aug 1: v Uruguay (Millennium Stadium, 7.45pm)
'With just 18 places it is very different from other international tournaments, the options are limited, but it is the Olympic Games and every player in this squad should be very proud they have a chance to compete for a gold medal on home soil.
'I remember the huge advantage we gained from playing in front of our own fans during Euro 96, and I'm sure with the nation behind us it could be a fantastic tournament for us.'
London 2012 will be the first time that Team GB have competed in the men's football competition since the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, where they finished third in their group.
Second chance: Sturridge (L) and Richards were both overlooked for Euro 2012 but will play at the Games
Team GB kick off their campaign at Manchester's Old Trafford against Senegal on July 26, play the United Arab Emirates at Wembley on July 29, before their final group fixture against Uruguay at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on August 1.
Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt said: 'After a 52-year absence from the Olympic Games, it is fantastic to welcome the men's football squad to Team GB for London 2012.
'Representing your country at the Olympic Games is a very unique, special experience and I am sure this talented and determined group of men's footballers will play a full part as members of Team GB at our home Olympic Games.
It's a London thing: Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey is joined by West Ham and Tottenham defenders James Tomkins and Steven Caulker (below) in the squad
'The squad selected possesses a good blend of youth and experience, with 16 of the 18 selected athletes playing their football at the very highest level in the Premier League last season.
'In Stuart Pearce they have an experienced and passionate manager and I am sure the younger players will learn a lot from their time with Team GB at the Olympic Games.
'Football fans from the across the UK are regarded worldwide as among the most passionate and knowledgeable supporters in the world and this summer offers a unique opportunity to get behind Team GB on home soil. I am confident that this famous vocal support will drive the young players on to produce many memorable and inspirational performances at the Olympic Games this summer.'
Missing man: David Beckham revealed last week he was not included in Stuart Pearce's Team GB plans
Swansea trio Joe Allen, Scott Sinclair and Neil Taylor are relishing the opportunity to represent Team GB at the London Olympics.
Taylor told the club's official website: 'There are a lot of good, young defenders in the Premier League, so it's a great honour for me.
'It's also great recognition for the club to have three representatives in the squad because it shows how far we've come.
'For me personally, it wasn't too long ago that I was playing my football in the Conference.
'Less than three years on I've represented my country, played in the Premier League and now I'm on my way to the Olympics. To say it's gone really well would be an understatement of the biggest order.'
Welsh wonder: Joe Allen is relishing the chance to play for Team GB
Wales international midfielder Allen, 22, feels the selection is good news for the Principality.
He said: 'There's a good representation from Swansea and Wales, so it shows that Welsh football is in a positive place at the moment.
'It's a proud moment for me and my family - and, of course, Swansea City.'
Winger Scott Sinclair, 23, worked under Pearce with the England Under 21 side.
He said: 'I'm buzzing with the news. At 23, it was probably my only chance to represent Great Britain at the Olympics. I just made it, so I'm thrilled.
'It's going to be an amazing experience, especially with the Olympics being in London. It's a great honour and I can't wait for the tournament to start.'
TEAM GB MEN'S FOOTBALL SQUAD
JACK BUTLAND (Birmingham)
The only player in England's European Championship squad to be given special dispensation for the Olympics. Butland (right) starred as England Under-21s' No 1 for the past year.
JASON STEELE (Middlesbrough)
Butland's understudy at England Under-21 level. Established himself as Middlesbrough's first-choice goalkeeper last season.
MICAH RICHARDS (Manchester City)
Picked ahead of David Beckham as the third over-age player despite snubbing chance to be on standby for England's Euro 2012 squad.
CRAIG DAWSON (West Brom)
Has made a real name for himself at under-21 level as a goalscoring centre-back but yet to firmly establish himself at West Brom.
JAMES TOMKINS (West Ham)
A regular in under-21 squads, Tomkins is also a regular at the heart of West Ham's defence and was key to their Barclays Premier League return.
STEVEN CAULKER (Tottenham)
Centre-back impressed on loan at Swansea last season and has a handful of England Under-21 caps. But only one appearance for parent club Tottenham.
RYAN BERTRAND (Chelsea)
Shot to fame by becoming the first player to make his Champions League debut in the final itself. The left-back is seen as the successor to Ashley Cole at Chelsea.
NEIL TAYLOR (Swansea)
Wales left-back (below), who can also play in midfield and has been part of Swansea's remarkable rise under Brendan Rodgers.
RYAN GIGGS (Manchester United)
Legendary midfielder who will cap his career with the major international tournament he so richly deserves.
AARON RAMSEY (Arsenal)
Like Giggs, the Arsenal midfielder and current Wales captain is good enough to star on the biggest stage. Who is to say whether he will get another chance with Wales?
TOM CLEVERLEY (Manchester United)
Has appeared jinxed when it comes to making his England debut after being forced to pull out of more than one squad. Midfielder could be a key to Team GB's chances.
JOE ALLEN (Swansea)
Wales midfielder who has been central to Swansea's much-feted passing game.
JACK CORK (Southampton)
Midfielder failed to make the grade at Chelsea but was key in Southampton's Premier League promotion after finally being cut loose. Also an England Under-21 regular.
DANNY ROSE (Tottenham)
Has struggled to kick on from a stunning goal on his Premier League debut against Arsenal. But Rose's (right) explosive pace will give Great Britain another option out wide.
SCOTT SINCLAIR (Swansea)
Another who has flourished after being let go by Chelsea. Can play up front and out wide and is another quickie who also has an eye for a goal.
CRAIG BELLAMY (Liverpool)
The final over-age player and fifth Welshman in the squad, Bellamy still has pace to burn at 32 and is a tireless front-runner and good finisher.
DANIEL STURRIDGE (Chelsea)
Blew his chance of getting into England's Euro 2012 squad with a poor second half to the season. But is arguably the most skilful English player of his generation.
MARVIN SORDELL (Bolton)
Probably the biggest surprise in the squad but has impressed up front for England Under-21s and was good enough for Watford to persuade Bolton to buy him in January.
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