WROCLAW, Poland (AP) – David Beckham's dream of representing Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games is a step closer to reality after being included in today's 35-player shortlist for the Great Britain Olympic Team.
The Daily Mail in the United Kingdom is reporting that not only has Beckham made the 35-player shortlist, he has already been slotted to be one of the 18 players on the final Great Britain Olympic roster, chosen by head coach Stuart Pearce.
One of the figureheads of London's Olympic bid, Beckham has made it known for some time now that he is hoping to be one of three over-age players on the Great Britain Olympic Team. This despite the fact he is 37 and has not played for the England national team in three years.
Beckham's inclusion in the team is sure to be met with skepticism because of his age and lack of quality in recent months for the LA Galaxy. Such a move will surely be seen as a decision made in order to capitalize on Beckham's marketability rather than his actual ability to help the team.
That is a notion Beckham refuses to accept. The London native has insisted that while he wants desperately to play in the Olympics, he wants to be chosen for his ability as a player and not as a marketing tool.
"Throughout my career I have been pretty successful. I've played for some pretty big teams, represented my country quite a few times and played for managers without sentiment," Beckham said. "No, I don't want to be picked for shirt sales or as a stadium filler. I want to be picked for what I can bring to the team."
Based on what has been a lackluster season with the LA Galaxy in MLS, it is tough to argue that Beckham deserves to make the team on merit. After helping lead the Galaxy to an MLS Cup title last November, Beckham has been one of several Galaxy players to seriously underachieve this season.
Pearce had a chance to see Beckham in person, traveling to Los Angeles to scout a Galaxy match and watch Beckham live on May 7th. The Galaxy lost the match 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls, and Beckham failed to make much of an impression.
At that time, Pearce made it clear he would only choose Beckham on merit. It is believed Pearce has chosen Beckham because of his considerable experience and the leadership qualities he can bring to a young team.
Pearce must submit the final 18-man roster on July 6th. It remains unclear who the other over-age player options will be, but Manchester United legend (and former Beckham teammate) Ryan Giggs is also believed to be in the running.