The latest indication of Stuart Pearce’s plans for his Great Britain football team at the Olympics has emanated from Scotland, where three Celtic players have received letters asking if they would be willing to form part of Team GB.
Scott Brown, James Forrest and Adam Matthews have been targeted by the Team GB coach as he looks to clarify which players from outside England are keen to participate in the London Games. The football associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have made plain their reservations about Team GB while admitting they hold little sway over the personal choices of players.
“I haven’t had the chance to speak to the players but Scott Brown, James Forrest and Adam Matthews were sent formal invitations, as it were,” Neil Lennon said. With the scheduling of Olympic matches at Hampden Park in mind, the next Scottish Premier League season will start on 4 August, later than has become routine, a day after the final Olympic match in Glasgow. The Celtic manager admitted he would have reservations about the trio’s participation in a tournament that runs until 11 August.
“We will sit down with them over the next few weeks and see what they are thinking,” Lennon said. “If they want to go I can’t stop them. It’s the timing of it with the start of the season next year or the [European] qualifiers.
“My view is that football is not an Olympic sport, although it is a great spectating sport. But that is my own view, not the view of the club but if the players want to go, I am not going to discourage it.”
Brown, the Celtic captain, will be 27 at the time of the games and therefore would have to be selected as one of Pearce’s three overage players. The same would not apply to Forrest, a 20-year-old winger who has excelled for Celtic this season, or the Wales full-back Matthews, currently 19.
Interestingly, high-profile Scotland internationals such as Charlie Adam, Allan McGregor and Craig Gordon are yet to receive any similar letter from the British Olympic authorities.
Scott Brown, James Forrest and Adam Matthews have been targeted by the Team GB coach as he looks to clarify which players from outside England are keen to participate in the London Games.