10:00am Friday 29th June 2012
David Beckham has spoken of his bitter disappointment after his dreams of playing for Great Britain in the Olympics were dashed.
Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards will be the three over-age players in the 18-man squad after 37-year-old Beckham missed out on selection.
In a statement released to the Press Association, Beckham said: "Everyone knows how much playing for my country has always meant to me, so I would have been honoured to have been part of this unique Team GB squad."
He added: "Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me. And like everyone, I will be hoping they can win the gold."
It can also be disclosed that neither Manchester United's Chris Smalling nor Tottenham's Kyle Walker will be in the squad either - due to the injuries that ruled them out of England's Euro 2012 matches. Tom Cleverley, the 22-year-old United midfielder who also missed Euro 2012 through injury, is expected to be named in the squad.
Beckham, who played a key role in helping London win the right to host the 2012 Olympics at the IOC vote in Singapore in 2005, had harboured hopes of being picked by Stuart Pearce but has been informed by the Team GB coach that he will not get one of the over-age slots.
Beckham is now expected to play a leading role as an ambassador for London 2012 during the Games.
He said: "As a Londoner I was really proud to have played a small part in bringing the Olympics to my home town as part of Seb's [Coe] team and I can't wait for the Games to begin and will enjoy every moment along with the rest of Great Britain."
Beckham is understood to have been told by Pearce that he had chosen to pick Manchester City defender Richards instead because he wanted stronger defensive options. The need for defensive cover was exacerbated after Smalling and Walker were both ruled out.
Giggs and Bellamy were widely expected to be included but the selection of Richards is also as much of a surprise as him being left out of England's squad for Euro 2012, for which he refused to go on standby. Other under-23 players who are almost certain to be confirmed by Pearce include Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey and Tottenham's Gareth Bale.
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