STUART Pearce is calling on Saints midfielder Jack Cork, right, and his Team GB football colleagues to take “a lifetime of memories” back to their
Boss Pearce is hopeful that his 18-man squad can give a good account of themselves in GB’s first Olympic football campaign since 1960.
“When we finish this tournament, we want to send 18 players back to their clubs with a lifetime of memories,” he said.
“To do that we have to be successful, get out of the group and see where we go from there.”
For Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy, it offers an opportunity to compete at a major tournament for the only time in their careers.
The same may be said of younger members of the five-strong Welsh contingent.
Goalkeeper Jack Butland has far more to look forward to.
At the age of 19, and having only previously played for Cheltenham at league level, Butland spent the early part of his summer in Poland and Ukraine, having been drafted in as third choice keeper
once John Ruddy had been ruled out with a broken finger.
“It was massive, a dream come true,” said the Birmingham keeper, who has been the subject of significant interest from Saints.
“I’d just landed in Mexico with my girlfriend when I got the call.
“We were both looking forward to our holidays and neither of us expected it, so it was a bit gutting at first, but after that it started to sink and we realised what a massive thing it was going to
“The first couple of hours I was in awe.
“I got picked up from the airport and the closer I got to the hotel the more nervous I became.
“It was like ‘wow’, although the fact I'd been called back from holiday meant we had something to talk about.”
That experience should stand Butland in good stead though as he seems sure to be making a more meaningful contribution to the second part of his summer of a lifetime.
“It is definitely a characteristic of goalkeepers that you've got to be mentally strong,” he said.
“Joe Hart comes across as a tough character but losing games hurts him as much as anyone.
“You’ve got to be calm and focused about things, both on and off the pitch.
“I try to maintain the same level of excitement through things.
“Once the games or training are done, you can really show your true emotions.”