Giggs savouring role at Team GB
Team GB captain Ryan Giggs has pledged to make the most of London 2012 as he thought his last chance of playing in a major tournament had long gone.
The Manchester United midfielder is one of three over-age players in the 18-man Olympic squad, along with Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards.
Despite having a long and successful career, London 2012 will be Giggs’s first major tournament on the international stage.
The 38-year-old, who was named captain for the Games last weekend, failed to help Wales qualify for either the World Cup or European Championships before retiring from international football in 2007 so he is intent to make the most of this summer.
“No, I didn’t think I would ever play in an international tournament of this level,” he told reporters yesterday.
“I didn’t quite get to a major tournament with Wales, which will always remain a big disappointment. But it is great to be involved in the tournament environment – I’ve not experienced that before.
“I have only been here a day but I am really looking forward to it.”
Giggs had been expected to feature for Team GB alongside former United team-mate David Beckham this summer, but the LA Galaxy midfielder was conspicuous by his absence when the squad was unveiled.
“It is disappointing for David, obviously not being involved,” Giggs said of Beckham’s omission.
“As a friend I am disappointed for him but as a player you just get on with it and just try to enjoy the experience and that is what I am trying to do.”
Giggs was also quick to turn attention back to football when asked about the politics surrounding Team GB.
Much had been made of the reluctance of the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish associations to give their blessing to the unified GB team.
As it is, no players have been selected from Scotland or Northern Ireland, although five Welshmen, including Giggs, have been included in the 18-man squad.
“All I have seen is what is in the press, really,” Giggs said.
“As a player and a Welshman, I just wanted to get involved.
“Just like the Welsh lads in the squad, they’re Welsh but we just wanted an opportunity to play for Great Britain in an Olympics on home turf so I think it was a chance we could not turn down.
“It was one we’re excited about and if other people want to disagree with then that’s their prerogative, but as a player I am excited and can’t wait.”