Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs admits he is delighted to finally make it to a major tournament, as the Team GB captain continues his preparation for the 2012 London Olympics.
Despite his unrivalled trophy haul of 13 Premier League titles, and numerous other domestic and European accolades in a career spanning over 21 seasons with the Red Devils, the most decorated player in English football history is yet to feature on the international stage.
Currently enjoying a pre-tournament training camp in Spain along with the 17 other players selected by Stuart Pearce this summer, the 38-year-old Welshman can't wait to kick off the first game against Senegal, in the familiar surroundings of Old Trafford on July 26.
"My career for my country has obviously been the total opposite to the one for my club," explained Giggs. "I've been so successful with United but not so with Wales.
"I would always watch the other lads, especially those ones I grew up with, go away on international tournaments and wish that I could do the same. Unfortunately I never got the chance.
"But now I have even in the first few days together I've seen things that I haven't seen in my career. It's been an eye opener, and really enjoyable as well."
Many players turned down the opportunity to represent Team GB on the basis of the British aspect of a sport that is traditionally split across the Home Nations, but Giggs is unperturbed by such a stance, saying that victory at the Games would rank alongside his greatest achievements in his career.
"Right up there," added the midfielder. "I don't like to prioritise medals because every single one means something special. But of course, this would be different because you never thought you'd be competing in an Olympics.
"To win a gold medal would be special."
After a 1-0 closed doors friendly defeat against Mexico last night, Team GB travel to Middlesbrough to the Riverside Stadium to face Brazil in the final warm-up game before the competition opener.
Giggs will turn out against a familiar face in the form of United team-mate Rafael Da Silva, but there is no denying that the star attraction will be Santos starlet Neymark, who is quickly building a reputation as one of the brightest talents in world football.
"Neymar is one player that Rafa and Anderson have told me about. They say he's something special.
"With the next World Cup being played in Brazil these players will be trying to impress, looking to put a marker down that they can play tournament football.
"It's great for the fans coming to Middlesbrough to see Brazil play live, purely because of the history they have in the game."
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