"If I wasn't a footballer, I'd probably be a virgin"
Crouch? Rhodes? Fletcher? Fans of Stoke City, Huddersfield Town and Wolves may be happy they weren't selected, but here's the strikers Stuart Pearce should have taken to the Olympics
Stuart Pearce's Team GB slipped to a draw against tackle-happy Senegal in Manchester last night, largely down to the experienced performances of over-23 trio Micah Richards, Craig Bellamy and Ryan Giggs. Other members of the team also caught the eye, such as Joe Allen, but it wasn't a vintage display for this recently united side.
However, despite leading for over 80 minutes of the game, Great Britain (Team GB is a bit cringe, no?) let victory slip through their hands as they conceded from a counter-attack after wasting possession at a corner.
GB were decent in patches, but hardly troubled Senegalese keeper Ousmane Mane apart from Bellamy's first-half goal and Marvin Sordell's second-half effort that crashed back off the bar.
Senegal were pretty handy even without their Geordie strike partners Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba
Although most of their squad sounded like they had come straight out of Africa's version of the Smurfs, (substitute Pape Souare was my favourite) Senegal were pretty handy even without their Geordie strike partners Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba.
GB evidently lack an experienced striker in the squad, with Daniel Sturridge hard-working but still recovering from meningitis up front and Sordell an electric replacement but unlikely to start, it begs the question: why didn't Stuart Pearce bring a proven finisher? Perhaps one of these three deserved a spot...
Good ol' Crouchy can think himself desperately unlucky to have been ostracised from the current England set-up when you consider his goal-to-games ratio for the national side. At 31 years of age with 22 goals in 42 caps for his country, the former Liverpool star should be able to look back upon his international career with fondness. However it is more regret than pride for Crouch, who would have been available for selection at the Olympics this summer.
He would have taken an over-23 spot, but with many questioning Giggs' inclusion given his age and the squad's strength in midfield, and Bellamy's questionable fitness which is likely to see him struggle to play in every match at the Games, perhaps Crouch would have been a viable option. He would have offered a prolificness in front of goal, a big presence up top if Pearce had wanted to go Plan B, and links with the midfield exceptionally. And if he had brought back the robot it would have made football at the Games even more gimmicky...
When you bag 40 goals from 45 appearances during the season building up to the Olympics, you'd think you have a great shot of making the squad. And after being confirmed as part of Pearce's preliminary 35, Rhodes must have thought this summer was his time to shine. But alas, Rhodes didn't make the cut – be it down to his Scottish nationality or the 'footballing reasons 'Psycho' likes to mention.
Pearce plumped for Sordell as his back-up striking option instead of the impressive Huddersfield Town goal-machine, who having only played as high as League One may have seen that count against him. What is sure is that Rhodes will make the highest level in time, despite his Olympics omission. With the finishing prowess to bang in five in one game, (earlier this season against Wycombe) the 22-year-old's ability to find the net would have been greatly received in blue, red and white this summer.
Another Scottish striker that was on Pearce's radar for the Games, Fletcher was either a victim of the Scottish FA's refusal to let their players join Great Britain or a sufferer of the over-23 selections. But what Fletcher would have brought to the squad if he had been selected would have been a proven track record to score against the best defenders, ability in the air and a workaholic movement off the ball.
Fletch finds himself staring down the barrel of the Championship this season, but may yet complete a transfer back to the Premier League like he did in 2010 when he switched to Wolves after dropping down divisions after Burnley's relegation. Born in Shrewsbury, Fletcher is probably the most complete forward of the three and could have done a great job for GB. Oh yeah, and he can do 82 header keepy-ups...
Good thing no one cares about football at the Olympics, eh?
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