Pearce: I'm off to see Becks in LA but, er, no-one's guaranteed a place...
Published 12:22 24/04/12 By MirrorFootball
Team GB coach Stuart Pearce revealed at today's Olympics draw that he would be travelling to the United States to see former England captain David Beckham, now with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Beckham - a poster boy of the London bid, and widely touted to be Team GB captain - is pretty much expected to get the nod for London.
But Pearce insisted there were no guarantees of inclusion to anyone - including Beckham.
Pearce told BBC Sport: "[I will pick] solely on merit. It's the only way any manager picks a squad or a team and I will do exactly the same.
"I will know a bit more when I go to the States to see what form [Beckham] is in, he's made the shortlist and he has been a great ambassador for this country and the Olympics, but that's no recommendation that he will get in the squad and that's fair and square across the board for all players."
London 2012 chairman Lord Coe was adamant that Pearce would be free to pick his squad purely on sporting considerations, notwithstanding the obvious appeal of Beckham to spectators in this country and across the world.
He told BBC Sport: "This is absolutely for Stuart Pearce [to decide]. He must pick the team on merit and whatever team Stuart picks will attract a lot of attention."
Asked if it was important that the squad should feature players from all four home nations, Coe added: "If possible that's important, but again [it must be] on merit. You don't select your teams on a quota basis, you select on merit."
On the draw itself, Pearce conceded it was difficult to judge how tough an opponent Uruguay for one could be, given the possibility that they could draft in high-quality over-age players such as Suarez, Diego Forlan and Edinson Cavani.
Pearce added: "I wouldn't dismiss anyone in the group, with the addition of three over-age players it can really contribute to a strong side. It will be tough, it always is, that's tournament football. We'll be looking forward to it and I'm sure our boys who are representing Great Britain will be looking forward to a tough tournament, but an enjoyable one.
Women's coach Hope Powell was relishing the prospect of a clash with Brazil at Wembley. Great Britain have been drawn in Group E alongside the South Americans, plus New Zealand and Cameroon.
"Brazil will be a great game for us. They are undoubtedly the tough team in the group, they are always there or thereabouts in major tournaments. We know who we're up against now so it's all about the preparation."
The Great Britain women's team have the honour of kicking off the London 2012 Olympics when they take on New Zealand in Cardiff on July 25, two days before the official opening ceremony. They then face Cameroon on July 28, again in Cardiff, before concluding their group campaign against Brazil.