Monday 09 July 2012

Captain Giggs going for gold with Team GB

Manchester United veteran selected as captain for Great Britain's Olympic team

Ryan Giggs (right) is excited about the prospect of captaining Team GB

Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs believes he can lead Great Britain to gold at the 2012 Olympics after being selected as captain for Stuart Pearce's side.

The 38-year-old, who was recently named Best Player in the Premier League's 20 Seasons Awards, has never played at a major international tournament but is one of the most decorated players in English football and is looking to add a gold medal to his glittering array of silverware.

"It is a tremendous honour to be part of the Olympics," said the former Wales captain, who retired from international football in 2007. "Stuart has given me the captaincy, which is even better so I am really looking forward to it. It is a unique experience and one from the start that I wanted to be part of when I got the opportunity.

"We hope we can get gold. That is what the players are hoping for. The players are winners and want to do well. You want that gold medal. It is going to be tough because a lot of the other nations have picked good players and have got good teams."

Glittering career

Giggs has played in every season of the Premier League, winning the title on 12 occasions with United along with two UEFA Champions League triumphs, four FA Cups, four League Cups and a host of other trophies, and was deemed to be the "standout captain" by Team GB coach Stuart Pearce.

"He's got the respect of all the members of the group," said Pearce, whose side face Senegal at Old Trafford in their opening game on 26 July. "I looked at the squad and I thought there are some good candidates there.

"It was the easiest decision of my managerial career. He has been one of the best professionals of the last 20 years."
- Stuart Pearce

"Aaron Ramsey captains Wales, Micah Richards has captained Manchester City at times, Craig Bellamy for the experience he's had and one or two others within the camp as well. But I think Ryan is the standout captain amongst the group.

"It was the easiest decision of my managerial career. He has been one of the best professionals of the last 20 years."

After taking on Senegal, Team GB meet United Arab Emirates at Wembley on July 29th and complete their group fixtures against Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium on August 1st.

'Best ever'

Giggs' Welsh compatriot Bellamy, also making his first major tournament appearance, believes the Manchester United legend is perfect for the captaincy after serving under him for their country.

"He is probably one of the best players who has ever played the game," he said. "It is fitting he is captain and also I have been very fortunate to play with him for my country as well, so I know Ryan quite well."

Along with Giggs and Micah Richards, Bellamy is one of three players over the age of 23 permitted to be selected for the Olympic football team.

Meanwhile, Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge, who contracted viral meningitis recently, will be assessed in the coming days to see whether he will be fit to play a part in the tournament.

Full Team GB men's squad

Joe Allen (Swansea City) - born 14/3/1990, Carmarthen.
Craig Bellamy (Liverpool) - born 13/7/1979, Cardiff.
Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea) - born 5/8/1989, Southwark.
Jack Butland (Birmingham City) - born 10/3/1983, Bristol.
Tom Cleverley (Manchester United) - born 12/8/1989, Basingstoke.
Jack Cork (Southampton) - born 25/6/1989, Carshalton.
Steven Caulker (Tottenham Hotspur) - born 29/12/1991, Feltham.
Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion) - born 6/5/1990, Rochdale.
Ryan Giggs (Manchester United) - born 29/11/1973, Cardiff.
Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) - born 26/12/1990, Caerphilly
Micah Richards (Manchester City) - born 24/6/1988, Birmingham.
Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur ) - born 2/7/1990, Doncaster.
Scott Sinclair (Swansea City)- born 25/3/1989, Bath.
Marvin Sordell (Bolton Wanderers) - born 17/2/1991, Harrow.
Jason Steele (Middlesbrough) - born 18/8/1990, Bishop Auckland.
Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea) - born 1/9/1989, Birmingham.
Neil Taylor (Swansea City)- born 7/2/1989, St Asaph.
James Tomkins (West Ham United) - born 29/3/1989, Basildon.

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Key Points

  • Giggs to wear captain's armband at Olympics
  • Welshman has never played at major international tournament
  • Giggs, 38, excited to lead Team GB at Games