Tokyo 2020: How a Team GB men's football team could line up with Man Utd and Liverpool stars

  • Kobe Tong

There will be no men’s football team representing Team GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Team GB football at Tokyo 2020

English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football fans will instead be keeping a close eye on the progress of the women’s team as they attempt to strike Olympic gold under Hege Riise’s watch.

It will be fascinating to see how they get in Japan this summer and no doubt a strong performance might help to encourage the relevant authorities to field a men’s team once again in 2024.

Difficulty coordinating the four relevant Football Associations across the United Kingdom have made it tricky to arrange a men’s side, which is why the project has gone cold ever since London 2012.

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No men’s team in Tokyo

Having come together for the home Games nine years ago, The Sun claim that plans were scrapped for a reunion in Rio when the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish FA’s rejected the idea.

Consequently, it’s said that there weren’t even an attempt to cobble together a men’s Team GB side in 2021, which leaves us having to use our imagination to picture what that might have looked like. 

Yes, that’s right, we’re burrowing down a hypothetical rabbit hole to imagine just how the Brits might have lined up if they had united for an Olympic tournament this summer.



How would a Tokyo 2020 squad look?

But before you imagine England rolling out half their Euro 2020 squad once again, it’s important to remember that there are key rules that dictate how many senior players feature in Olympic squads.

NBC clarify that due to the one-year delay to the Games that certain 24-year-olds are eligible to play when they otherwise wouldn’t be as long as they were born either on or after January 1, 1997.

Other than that, teams are allowed to include a maximum of three overage players and the overall squad side has been set at 22. So, that’s the rules we’re playing with here.

Aside from the politics, though, we’ve tried to name a fair mix of players from each nation, while also having one eye on ensuring that we’re picking a squad with the best chance of going for gold.


Imagining Team GB’s squad

Also, for ease’s sake, we’re imagining that all eligible players are fit – so the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold are all clear – and aren’t totally burnt out from playing at Euro 2020 where applicable.

But enough housekeeping and disclaimers, let’s jump into the action and imagine how a men’s Team GB football team for Tokyo 2020 could have looked in an ideal world down below:


1. Aaron Ramsdale

2. Josef Bursik

Ok, moving swiftly on because this is admittedly a weak point in the squad. Ramsdale and Bursik are exciting young goalkeepers, don’t get it twisted, but fall short of the stunning quality outfield.



3. Reece James

4. Trent Alexander-Arnold

5. Andrew Robertson*

6. Ben White

7. Ben Godfrey

8. Ethan Ampadu

9. Jamal Lewis

10. Fikayo Tomori

Considering that Robertson is arguably the world’s best left-back, we thought it was a shrewd move to deploy him as one of overage picks, particularly with a glut of young quality in central defence.

The Liverpool man would be a vocal leader amongst top-quality centre-halves such as Godfrey and White, while Lewis and Ampadu fly the flag for Northern Ireland and Wales with their own quality.



11. Declan Rice

12. Jude Bellingham

13. Bukayo Saka

14. Curtis Jones

15. Mason Mount

16. Billy Gilmour

Have we neglected the centre of the park a tad? Perhaps, but with plenty of quality out wide with our forwards and wing-back potential from the defenders, we’re willing to take a risk with the midfield.

Saka can play here, there and everywhere, the world is Gilmour’s oyster, Bellingham is a future world beater, Jones can orchestrate from deep and the quality of Mount and Rice speaks for itself. 


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17. Jadon Sancho

18. Marcus Rashford

19. Gareth Bale*

20. Harry Kane*

21. Phil Foden

22. Mason Greenwood

Would Kane and Bale actually play at the Olympics? Probably not, but if we’re going to imagine this ideal scenario, then we’re swinging for the fences with a front-heavy pair of overage selections.

But let’s just take a moment to appreciate the quality around the them because Foden, Greenwood and Sancho are undoubtedly three of the most exciting young players in the entire sport.


Just imagine…

So, go on, throw us your pelters about how we’re being overly ambitious and that Team GB would never be able to coordinate a squad this strong – and do you know what? You’re probably right.

But lest we forget that this squad would be well and truly legal within the current rules and had the stars aligned better with the summer schedule, then perhaps it would have been worth a punt.

Besides, while there is undoubtedly top quality in the men’s Olympic teams that are competing in 2021, you’d be hard-pressed to name a single one of them that could beat this dream team.

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