After playing a huge role in securing London as the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games, David Beckham’s omission from Team GB has come as a huge surprise.
The former England captain has been involved in several high-profile events in the build-up to the Games, and while he will not be taking part in London 2012, Ladbrokes have slashed the global star to 5/1 to light the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony.
Beckham had expressed a desire to compete for Team GB on several occasions, and was considered a sure-fire selection in Stuart Pearce’s squad, and even touted as a likely captain of the side.
Pearce’s decision therefore comes as somewhat of a bombshell to expectant fans, many of whom may have purchased tickets just to see Beckham in action, such is his immense drawing power.
Inevitable commercial benefits would have prevailed from Beckham’s inclusion too, but with the midfielder now 37, and plying his trade in the sub-standard MLS with LA Galaxy, Pearce’s decision appears to have been made purely with football reasons at heart.
Similar instances have occurred in the past, when Beckham missed out on England’s 2010 World Cup campaign, but went on to take up a coaching role at the tournament.
He is 3/1 to join Pearce’s backroom staff for this competition, though he has made no secret of the fact that he would rather be playing saying in a statement.
He said: “Everyone knows how much playing for my country has always meant to me. So I would have been honoured 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. And like everyone, I will be hoping they can win the gold.”
What is encouraging for Team GB supporters though, is the quality of Beckham’s replacements in the squad.
Allowed three players over the age of 23, Pearce has selected two former Wales captains in 12-time Premier League winner Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy, along with current Premier League champion Micah Richards.
Giggs is 8/13 favourite to captain the side, while Richards is a 5/2 chance, and Bellamy is afforded a 7/2 price as third-favourite.
While disappointment currently appears to be the widespread emotion surrounding Beckham’s omission, Pearce will be hoping his decision proves a masterstroke this summer.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.