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Saints midfielder Cork named in GB Olympic squad
3:00pm Monday 2nd July 2012 in Sport
SAINTS midfielder Jack Cork has been named in the Great Britain Olympic football squad.
The 23-year-old is one of 18 players selected by manager Stuart Pearce for London 2012.
Cork joins the likes of Ryan Giggs, Micah Richards and Craig Bellamy in the squad that will be going for gold this summer.
The Daily Echo revealed in February that the former Chelsea player, who moved to St Mary's last summer, was on Pearce's Olympic shortlist.
Pearce said: "It has not been an easy task to finalise my squad for this tournament, and the stature of the competition and uniqueness of the occasion has underlined the importance of every choice I have made.
"With just 18 places it is very different from other international tournaments, the options are limited, but it is the Olympic Games and every player in this squad should be very proud they have a chance to compete for a gold medal on home soil.
"I remember the huge advantage we gained from playing in front of our own fans during Euro '96, and I'm sure with the nation behind us it could be a fantastic tournament for us."
In total, five Welsh and 13 English players have been selected for the team, with no representation from Scotland or Northern Ireland.
The announcement of the squad confirmed that David Beckham has missed out, with Giggs, Bellamy and Richards the three over-age players allowed.
Swansea have three players named, the most of any club - Scott Sinclair, Joe Allen and Neil Taylor - while Tottenham defender Steven Caulker, who has also been included, was on loan at the Liberty Stadium last season.
Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge is also chosen, as is Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey and Manchester United Tom Cleverley. Ex-Saint Gareth Bale would have been selected but has been ruled out due to injury.
London 2012 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.
Team GB kick off their campaign at Manchester United's Old Trafford against Senegal on July 26. They then 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.
Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt said: "After a 52-year absence from the Olympic Games, it is fantastic to welcome the men's football squad to Team GB for London 2012.
"Representing your country at the Olympic Games is a very unique, special experience and I am sure this talented and determined group of men's footballers will play a full part as members of Team GB at our home Olympic Games.
"The squad selected possesses a good blend of youth and experience, with 16 of the 18 selected athletes playing their football at the very highest level in the Premier League last season.
"In Stuart Pearce they have an experienced and passionate manager and I am sure the younger players will learn a lot from their time with Team GB at the Olympic Games.
"Football fans from the across the UK are regarded worldwide as among the most passionate and knowledgeable supporters in the world and this summer offers a unique opportunity to get behind Team GB on home soil.
"I am confident that this famous vocal support will drive the young players on to produce many memorable and inspirational performances at the Olympic Games this summer."
Team GB squad: Jack Butland (Birmingham), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough); Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Steven Caulker (Tottenham), Craig Dawson (West Brom), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Neil Taylor (Swansea), James Tomkins (West Ham); Joe Allen (Swansea), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Jack Cork (Southampton), Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Scott Sinclair (Swansea); Craig Bellamy (Liverpool), Marvin Sordell (Bolton), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea).