Sven surprised at Beckham exclusion

David Beckham has not been selected for Team GB

David Beckham has not been selected for Team GB

First published in National Sport © by

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson would have selected David Beckham for the Olympic squad after he was overlooked by Team GB coach Stuart Pearce.

The ex-England captain revealed earlier this week that he had been left out of the final 18-man squad, with former Manchester United team-mate Ryan Giggs, Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy and Manchester City defender Micah Richards understood to have been chosen as the three over-age players for London 2012.

Beckham is now expected to play a leading role as an ambassador during the Games, but Eriksson was saddened his former skipper was not selected. He told BBC Five Live's Sportsweek programme: "I haven't seen Beckham play for a long time but I think David should anyhow be there because it is the Olympic Games, it is Great Britain, it is England, it is London."

He continued: "So I would have picked him, put him on the bench at the very least. I hope he will be involved in some way in the Olympic Games, it's important. It's a difficult one but David is an icon, he should be involved in the Olympic Games in some way.

"If he can't be in the football team I hope he can be involved in some other way."

Turning his attention to England's efforts at Euro 2012 where they went out at the quarter-final stage after defeat to Italy, Eriksson praised the defence but concurred with the general consensus that they must address their inability to keep the ball.

He believed England enjoyed more success in relation to retaining possession under his tenure but was optimistic new manager Roy Hodgson will address the matter with some urgency.

"I am sure Roy - I wouldn't say he is worried about it - but he is thinking about it. England have to improve there, absolutely," he added.

"Considering the time he had to prepare, absolutely (he did well), and Roy will hopefully sort it out in the future because I think that has to be better if they want to win a big tournament.

"I think they have a good team and I think it was a big surprise how they played against Italy, a big negative surprise. Roy is a good manager, he will fix it."

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