Ryan Giggs inclusion in Stuart Pearce’s Team GB squad for the Olympics has well and truly split opinion – with thousands of fans unsure that the Welshman deserves a spot over David Beckham.
The Guardian reported this morning that both Giggs and Beckham were left fighting it out over one place after Pearce decided that two of the three allocated over-23 spots in his 18 man squad needed to go to a striker and a defender, with Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards the lucky recipients.
With one place remaining and the two former Manchester United colleagues vying for the spot, Pearce took the brave/foolish/idiotic/correct decision to leave Beckham out of his final squad.
There are few who would begrudge Giggs his place – the Welshman has never played in an international tournament despite being one of the finest British players of all time and the fact he boasts a trophy cabinet to make the most illustrious players in the world jealous.
However, in his latter years Beckham has become something of a national treasure, working his way into the nations heart as he lobbied on behalf of the bid team led by Sebastian Cole to help secure the games for London.
So there is no doubt the Pearce’s decision to drop Becks despite all his hard work was a bold one – but was it the right one?
Almost 5,000 fans voted in GMF’s online poll and Pearce’s decision has well and truly split opinion.
Giggs just about edged the voting when fans were asked if Pearce was right to include the Manchester United veteran over Beckham, with 52% (2,513 votes cast) voting in favour of including him over his former team-mate.
However 48% (2,251 votes cast) believe Beckham warrants a spot in the Team GB squad for all he has contributed over the years – voting was so tight in fact that only 262 votes separated the pair.
The closeness of the poll reflects the fact that Pearce had an incredibly tough decision to make – a fact acknowledged by fans commenting on the poll.
One fan, @chirag1512000 believes Pearce has made the right decision, recognising that Giggs both merits a chance because of his efforts on the field and because he has been denied a chance to play in a major international tournament throughout his career.
“Giggs is still playing at higher level [than Beckham] and has been consistent. He deserves a chance chance as he has never played in major competition,” he said.
However @strawbrey72 believes the debate is far less cut and dry, conceding: “It must have been a difficult choice to make” while @mrockwood08 is adamant that Beckham did enough to play in the Olympics in his home city.
“David should be there he is too good at free kicks and corners. But this is England and they won't win like always,” he said.
It now looks as though Beckham will have to settle for watching on from the stands while the team he had hoped to represent go for Gold this summer – while Pearce faces a long couple of weeks in the build up to the tournament next month, with Beckham’ fans clearly unhappy with how events have unfolded.
There is no doubting that most fans would like to have seen both Giggs and Beckham play at the tournament, but as soon Pearce decided to pit the two icons against one another he was always likely to face a tough decision.
Whether he has got it right only time will tell, but there is no doubting the former U-21 boss is playing a dangerous game - this is a story that could run and run.