Jun 29 2012
Former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp believes Great Britain Olympics football coach Stuart Pearce "can kiss goodbye to a knighthood" after he opted to leave David Beckham out of his squad, but hailed Pearce's bravery for selecting the side he wanted.
Beckham had hoped to be named as one of three over-age players and had made it on to Pearce's extended list of possible candidates but revealed yesterday he had not been selected, with Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards understood to be the ones preferred instead.
Beckham played a key role in attracting support to London's bid to stage the Games back in 2005 and London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe is now set to offer him a role during the Olympics. Redknapp told The Sun: "There is no doubt Stuart will have upset a few in high places. They would have loved to see Becks in there. I am surprised and sad that he isn't."
He added: "Stuart can kiss goodbye to a knighthood but credit for being brave. He is the manager and should be allowed to pick who he wants."
Former England defender Danny Mills has hit out at Pearce's decision, and claimed the former Manchester City boss had "struggled with big players in the past".
Mills, who played alongside Beckham in the 2002 World Cup, told BBC Sport: "There's always an issue around the Beckham brand. We know how big he is - he's global, he's huge. But when it comes to football reasons, David Beckham can still do a job.
"I think it would have been a great spectacle and I think it's a bit of a shame he's not in there.
"Stuart Pearce doesn't always like confrontation and he's struggled with big players in the past. Maybe he's thinking that what Beckham brings with him is too much to handle."
Former England striker Alan Shearer expressed his incredulity at the decision, and told The Sun: "I'm amazed as I thought he was going to be part of it after all he's done getting the Olympics to London.
"After putting him in the initial squad I can't understand this. If Stuart Pearce had no intention of playing him, the least he could have done was tell him earlier."