Beckham overlooked for GB Olympic Squad

He was instrumental in helping Sebastian Coe – the head of the London organising committee – win the rights to host London 2012, so it comes as a shock to learn David Beckham has not been selected for the Great Britain Olympic football squad.

The 37-year-old former England skipper – who had hoped to captain the side – is said to be stunned by Stuart Pearce’s decision.

He said: “Everyone knows how much playing for my country has always meant to me.

“I would have been honored to have been part of this unique Team GB squad.

“Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me.

“Like everyone, I will be hoping they can win the gold.”

Beckham made coach Stuart Pearce’s shortlist of 35 players but was overlooked for the final 18-man squad as one of three players over the age of 23 allowed to compete in the Olympics.

According to the Times, Pearce, who watched Beckham play for LA Galaxy in the United States last week, has selected Manchester City defender Micah Richards ahead of him.

Pearce rang Beckham on Wednesday night to tell him he wanted more defensive cover in the squad. Richards has been included alongside Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs and Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy as the three over-age players.

Beckham said in January: “I would love to be captain. I have led my country before and know how special it would be to lead them into the Olympics.”

In April, Pearce said: “He’s been a great ambassador but that’s no guarantee he’ll get in the squad. I’m picking on form and merit alone.

“David Beckham will be treated exactly the same as any other individual, whether it is young or over-age.

“I have a duty of care to the Great Britain squad to try to win a gold medal. I will pick the strongest squad I can.”

Team GB have been drawn in Group A at London 2012 alongside Senegal, Uruguay and United Arab Emirates.

They play Senegal at Old Trafford on 26 July, the United Arab Emirates at Wembley on 29 July and Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium on 1 August.

Each squad must contain 15 players born after 1 January 1989