London 2012: Five Welshmen in GB Olympic football team

Wales captain Aaron Ramsey has joined Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy as Team GB football boss Stuart Pearce has named five Welshmen in his Olympics squad.

Swansea City's Wales international pair Joe Allen and Neil Taylor have also been included in Pearce's 18-man GB squad for London 2012.

TEAM GB's GROUP A OLYMPIC 2012 FIXTURES

  • 26 July: v Senegal at Old Trafford, Manchester
  • 29 July: v United Arab Emirates at Wembley, London
  • 1 August: v Uruguay at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

England under-21 winger Scott Sinclair is named so Swansea is the club most represented in the British squad.

The Welsh FA oppose Team GB fearing it could threaten their independence.

It had been thought that Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale would be named but a back injury has prevented the selection of the Wales international.

The Football Association of Wales, along with the Scottish and Northern Irish associations, do not want a Team GB but the FAW had said it would not stop Welsh players from taking part.

Pearce admitted he had spoken at length to Wales manager Chris Coleman ahead of the squad announcement and insisted he did know there were a section of Welsh football fans against the formation of Team GB.

"I have been blown away by the mentality of the Welsh players within this squad to be part of this set-up," said Pearce.

"It is fair to say Chris wasn't against it, he could see the pluses in regard to the players and the opportunity of playing in the Olympics."

Manchester United winger Giggs and fellow former Wales captain Bellamy join Manchester City defender Micah Richards as one of Pearce's three permitted overage players to play in the under-23 tournament in London.

WELSHMEN IN TEAM GB

JOE ALLEN

Age: 22 Wales caps/goals (8/0)

CRAIG BELLAMY

Age: 32 Wales caps/goals (69/19)

RYAN GIGGS

Age: 38 Wales caps/goals (64/12)

AARON RAMSEY

Age: 21 Wales caps/goals (21/5)

NEIL TAYLOR

Age: 23 Wales caps/goals (9/0)

Sinclair, whose brother Martin will play in the Paralympic football tournament, midfielder Allen and left-back Taylor are the three Swansea players included by Pearce while Spurs defender Steven Caulker was on a season-long loan at the Liberty Stadium last season.

"It is priviledge as we are going to be an Olympian and that is something that people dream of doing all of their lives," said Taylor.

"It is going to be a great occasion and it will be a valuable experience."

Team GB will play Senegal, UAE and Uruguay in their group games as they compete in the competition for the first time since 1960.

The team will play pre-Olympic friendlies against Mexico in Spain and Brazil in Middlesbrough but the Welsh footballers will be the first Welsh athletes competing at London 2012 as their Olympic opener against Senegal at Old Trafford is on 26 July.

The Olympic football final at Wembley on 11 August is just four days before Wales' final 2014 World Cup qualifying warm-up against Bosnia in Llanelli on August 15 and seven days before the opening day of the Premier League season.

Squad: J Allen (Swansea), C Bellamy (Liverpool), R Bertrand (Chelsea), J Butland (Birmingham), S Caulker (Tottenham), T Cleverley (Manchester United), J Cork (Southampton), C Dawson (West Brom), R Giggs (Manchester United), A Ramsey (Arsenal), M Richards (Manchester City), D Rose (Tottenham), S Sinclair (Swansea), M Sordell (Bolton), J Steele (Middlesbrough), D Sturridge (Chelsea), N Taylor (Swansea), J Tomkins (West Ham)