FA pledge common sense in Olympics

PA Sport
Stuart Pearce
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Stuart Pearce

The Football Association have vowed to open "sensible dialogue" with England's senior clubs over the issue of selection for the British Olympic team.

Although it was suggested privately earlier this year that no player selected for England's Euro 2012 squad would double up for the Olympic side as well, there has been a subtle shift from that position. Club Wembley chief executive Adrian Bevington on Thursday suggested that the FA did not want to get "locked in" with Stuart Pearce's selection policy.

It led to the raising of a possibility that members of Fabio Capello's squad who do not feature extensively in Euro 2012 could then appear at the Olympics if they expressed a desire to be involved. Wayne Rooney's name was then put forward by the media as someone who may be affected, but the FA are irritated by those claims and have insisted their intention was merely to leave the whole selection issue open.

"At no time during Thursday's media conference to announce the Team GB Olympic Coaches did the FA representatives at any stage suggest or propose the names of Wayne Rooney, any Manchester United player or Jack Wilshere as possible members in the Olympics squad," said an FA statement.

"Furthermore, The FA did not say players would be selected for both tournaments, but stated clearly the organisation would not be locked into a policy of ruling it out. We also made it very clear the need for sensible dialogue with clubs, players and representatives and that everything would be handled with common sense."

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will welcome that approach as he is dubious about the merits of asking players to get involved in major tournaments without having adequate rest.

"I would be over the moon," he replied tongue-in-cheek, when asked about the prospect of his players being picked for Euro 2012 and the Olympics. "This is spurred by the fact that Argentina and Nigeria played their strongest teams in the last Olympics. It has given an opening for the British Olympic team to start thinking the same way.

"But we have a different type of football to abroad. The intensity of the English game is second to none - it is an exhausting, exacting season. That is why I keep saying that I never expect England to do well in the European Championships or the World Cup. The players have gone through a hell of a season. It is very difficult to get the bar up again."

And evidently, Ferguson feels the same way about the Olympics as he does the major senior Championships, where England have underperformed so often.

"It is exactly the same with the Olympics," he said. "I don't see how they can possibly get the players up to raise the bar after the season they have had in our game."

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