Olympics: Remembering Team GB's men's football team at London 2012

  • Kobe Tong

The 2012 Olympics were truly special for sports fans across the United Kingdom.

The summer games being hosted in your own country is often a once-in-a-lifetime event and thus, millions of Brits made themselves experts in all manner of sports across the two weeks.

However, it was one of the sports that feels the most incongruous with the Olympics that would have been the most familiar to many supporters across the land: football, ever heard of it? 

2012 Olympics

Yes, the beautiful game has been part of the Olympic furniture since the second modern games, but its limiting of overage players often means that football fans don’t give it the time of day.

And you can especially forgive UK-based fans of the men’s game when you consider that Team GB hadn’t amassed a football team since the 1970s ahead of the 2012 games.

Nevertheless, Team GB couldn’t allow that to happen on home soil and duly cobbled together a young and fresh 18-man squad compiled entirely of English and Welsh footballers.


Team GB men’s football team

And with the Tokyo 2020 games on the horizon, albeit without a men’s Team GB outfit once again, we thought it would be apt to look back on this most fascinating of footballing obscurities. 

Can you remember who pulled on the GB jersey and what has happened to them ever since? Well, fear not, because we’ve got you covered – check out the full squad down below:

GK: Jack Butland

The brakes were squeezed on Butland’s career when Stoke City dropped down to the Championship in 2018 and he currently has just one appearance to his name at current employers Crystal Palace.


GK: Jason Steele

Then of Middlesbrough and England under-21s, Steele now holds down the role of cup goalkeeper at Brighton & Hove Albion after spells with Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland.

DF: Neil Taylor

Taylor backed up his Olympic berth with League Cup glory for Swansea City the following season, before moving to Aston Villa in 2017 for whom he remains a fringe player.

DF: Ryan Bertrand

Fresh from winning the Champions League with Chelsea, Bertrand played three times at the Olympics and currently plies his trade with Southampton. He also boasts 19 caps and a goal for England.

DF: Steven Caulker

Caulker made his England debut in the same year, even scoring in what proved to be his only cap, before embarking on a career path that included a strange Liverpool spell and currently sees him playing in Turkey with Alanyaspor.


DF: Craig Dawson

Dawson has been an integral part of West Ham United’s Premier League success this season having also played for West Bromwich Albion and Watford since representing Team GB.

DF: James Tomkins

Currently ruled out through injury, Tomkins has struggled for game time at Crystal Palace, but still boasts more than 100 appearances for the Eagles since waving goodbye to West Ham.

DF: Micah Richards

The first of Team GB’s three overage players, Richards hung up his boots in 2019 after four years with Aston Villa and has since established himself as one of the best TV pundits in the business.


DF: Danny Rose

Rose followed up his Olympic appearances with a superb season out on loan at Sunderland that ultimately launched his Tottenham career. He can now be found winding down his contract at Spurs.

MF: Tom Cleverley

Sadly, Cleverley never really lived up to his early-career hype at Manchester United and although he went onto amass 13 caps for England, he’s now playing in the Championship with Watford.

MF: Joe Allen

With 57 caps for Wales and an underrated Liverpool spell under his belt, the ‘Welsh Pirlo’ has more to smile about than his current Championship dwelling with Stoke might otherwise suggest.


MF: Ryan Giggs

It remains to be seen whether we’ll see the current Wales manager, who retired after two more seasons at Manchester United on the back of the Olympics, at Euro 2020 this summer.

MF: Jack Cork

A steady pair of hands in Swansea City, Southampton and Burnley sides over the last decade, it’s often forgotten that Cork collected a solitary England cap during a 2017 friendly against Germany.

MF: Aaron Ramsey

One of the most successful players in the Team GB squad, Ramsey can be found sharing a dressing room with Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus after parting ways with Arsenal in 2019. 


MF: Scott Sinclair

Currently plying his trade in the Championship with Preston North End, Sinclair’s career has never really hit the same heights since his Manchester City move in the same summer as the Olympics.

FW: Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge is currently a free agent, but one with plenty of pedigree having won the Champions League with Liverpool and scored at both the World Cup and Euros for England.

FW: Craig Bellamy

Two more seasons at Cardiff City and Bellamy hung up his boots on the back of the Olympics. He has since tried his hand at coaching in the Welsh capital as well as with Anderlecht.

FW: Marvin Sordell

Last seen in a Burton Albion shirt, Sordell retired from the beautiful game at 28 years old in 2019, bravely opening up about his mental health as one of the reasons behind the decision.


A footballing obscurity

It certainly feels like a bizarre and random bunch of players almost ten years down the line, doesn’t it?

We would love to see another men’s Team GB side trying their hands at the Olympics, but the busy footballing calendar makes that feel unlikely and we’d have to wait another three years at best.

However, you’d forgive me for thinking that the current batch of English talent, alloyed with the likes of Gareth Bale and Andrew Robertson, would do a little better than the 2012 side’s quarter-final exit.

Arsenal will get Edwin Van Der Sar – RANT (Football Terrace)

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