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TEAMtalk's Top Men: Pick your Team GB XI

With thoughts turning towards London 2012, Simon Wilkes selects his starting XI for Team GB and invites you, our loyal readers, to do the same.

Last Updated: 17/07/12 at 08:17 Post Comment   

Bellamy: Plays wide left in Wilkes Team GB XI

Bellamy: Plays wide left in Wilkes Team GB XI

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This summer's showpiece in the capital will be the first time that Team GB have competed in the men's football competition since the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, where they finished third in their group.

Coach Stuart Pearce set tongues wagging and Twitter alight when he overlooked David Beckham for his squad, handing the three over-age player slots to skipper Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards.

But now we know who he has to work with, I thought I'd have a crack at picking the best starting XI to kick off Team GB's bid for gold against Senegal at Old Trafford in Manchester on July 26.

The host team also play the United Arab Emirates at Wembley on July 29, before their final group fixture against Uruguay at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on August 1.

I'll give you a quick reminder of the squad at Pearce's (and our) disposal, then select my team, asking you to do the same through our comments box.

Remember you can choose whatever formation you like - even Spain's controversial 4-6-0 if you wish!

Team GB squad:

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Birmingham), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough);

Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Steven Caulker (Tottenham), Craig Dawson (West Brom), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Neil Taylor (Swansea), James Tomkins (West Ham);

Midfielders: Joe Allen (Swansea), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Jack Cork (Southampton), Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Scott Sinclair (Swansea);

Strikers: Craig Bellamy (Liverpool), Marvin Sordell (Bolton), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea).

Simon Wilkes' Team GB (4-2-3-1): Butland; Richards, Dawson, Caulker, Taylor; Allen, Ramsey; Sinclair, Giggs (c), Bellamy; Sturridge.

Defence: Rising star Butland is an automatic pick between the sticks for me, but selecting my defenders was not so easy.

Richards slots in at right-back despite not seeing much club action for Manchester City, while Taylor just gets the nod ahead of Bertrand due to his fine season with Swansea and his understanding with Caulker, who also had a fantastic campaign with the Welsh outfit.

West Brom and England Under-21 star Dawson showed enough in his few starts for Albion to warrant a starting spot, especially as he offers more of a threat from set-pieces than Hammer Tomkins, who is unlucky to miss out.

Midfield: I want pace and energy in my engine room, so am asking Swansea playmaker Allen and Wales wonder Ramsey to be the men who pick the ball off the defenders and orchestrate play from midfield.

Messrs Sinclair and Bellamy are the men tasked with providing width and running at the opposition's backline, with captain Giggs playing in an attacking central role to ensure he causes chaos with his killer passes and eye for goal.

Attack: I'm picking Sturridge as a lone striker, as he has a single-minded hunger for goals and should relish being the main man up front.

The Chelsea frontman, who is strong with both feet and has pace to burn, has had viral meningitis but has been backed to be fully fit by Robert Di Matteo, and said himself: "I am optimistic about being able to make the Olympics."

What do you think of my team? Have Your Say, then pick your Top Men!

Simon Wilkes

TEAMtalk Editor

You can follow me on Twitter, @SimonJWilkes

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