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Pearce - No pressure on me to select Beckham
3:48pm Monday 2nd July 2012 in Hampshire Sport
Manager Stuart Pearce confirmed there was no political pressure on him to select David Beckham for his Team GB Olympic squad - and would not have accepted the job if there had been.
As expected, the omission of Beckham - a key figure in the London 2012 bid process and beyond - somewhat overshadowed the naming of the 18 players who will line up at the Games.
Until last week it was widely expected that Beckham's star quality and devotion to the Olympic cause would be enough to earn him one of the three over-age spots in Pearce's squad.
But the England Under-21 boss said his selections - Craig Bellamy, Ryan Giggs and Micah Richards - were made solely by him and exclusively for footballing reasons.
"From the offset, when I sat down with the (Football Association) chairman David Bernstein, some time before Christmas, he offered me the opportunity to pick the squad," he said.
"If at that stage he had said to me that certain individuals would have to be included I certainly wouldn't do that job. I don't know any manager worth their salt who would have.
"Right through this process I have had carte blanche to pick whatever players I regard as best.
"I do enough hours watching matches and I think I've done due diligence on all the players here.
"And in regard to ticket sales and merchandise: I'm a football man and I pick solely on football ability. I have to back my opinion and that's what I have done."
Much had been made of the reluctance of the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish associations to give their blessing to the unified GB team, but as it is no players have been selected from Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Instead the party comprises 13 Englishmen and five Wales internationals.
Again, Pearce said that tokenism never crossed his mind when selecting his squad.
He said: "I've got a list of names written down now, who I think ability-wise are good enough to do a job. I didn't pick on personality, I didn't pick on ticket sales and I certainly wasn't picking on nationality.
"To be honest I cannot tell you how many players there are from England and Wales. There 18 players are all Olympians now and that's the only way I view them."
Pearce also brushed aside suggestions the Welsh supporters would not get behind the team.
"Whenever I've supported a GB member as an individual, I've never looked at their individual nationality, I see them as British participants and I hope that's the case throughout our isles this summer," he added.
"I've been blown away by the mentality of the Welsh players in the squad and their desire to be part of it."
No captain has yet been appointed for the squad, with Pearce set to appoint one once the players meet for training.