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Great Britain coach Stuart Pearce explains Beckham decision

Team GB Men's Football Squad Announcement

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 2: Stuart Pearce, Team GB Men’s Football Coach addresses the media during a press conference and photocall as Team GB Men’s Football Squad is announced for the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on July 2, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

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I have a question about the headlines careening around the interwebs saying something along the lines of “Stuart Pearce says decision to exclude David Beckham was purely for football reasons.”

Because, what other possible motive would Pearce have for setting brush fires of outrage throughout Beckham-loving England? This is not a Rio Ferdinand-John Terry type thing, where a certain player’s selection might improve collective talent but be toxic for team chemistry. It’s exactly the opposite.

At any rate, the coach of Great Britain’s Olympic team today explained his rationale for leaving Beckham out of his squad. Essentially, Pearce said, his selections were based on form, not sentiment – which is exactly as it should be.

Form plays a big part and I don’t think there is a manager around who picks on sentiment. I have to be comfortable when I have made decisions based solely on football grounds alone, nothing else.”

Pearce told Sky News specifically: “I saw Beckham more than any other player. In the end I decided the other three over 23-year-old players gave me a bit more. … David doesn’t feel it was the right decision, and naturally he was disappointed. But so were all of those who were left out.”

Clearly, there was pressure on him to select Beckham, who wasn’t performing at his best when the Great Britain manager came to see him earlier this year.