Why David Beckham must be part of team GB

The Olympic football competition gives Britain the chance to do something it usually fears, to follow its heart.

    Beckham has put his name forward for captaining team GB at the London Olympics [GALLO/GETTY] 

    The question of whether we should let our heart or head guide us is a complicated one.

    When it comes to the English football team, however, those in charge have often tried (emphasis on the tried) to use their heads to make sensible and logical decision.  

    In December 2007, even though any red-blooded Three Lions supporter would have appointed an English manager regardless of their credentials, the heads at the FA appointed Italian Fabio Capello.

    Taking a risk on another Englishman was deemed too great; the head honchos at the FA wanted to sleep in their beds safe in the knowledge Capello had the experience and success to do the job.

    When it comes to action on the pitch, the mind has overruled the heart there too.

    England have never been recognised for playing passionate or exciting football - instead of the Brazilians and Spaniards fluid and free-flowing style, England stick to reliable players and solid defending.

    During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Fabio Capello banned the player’s partners from the camp and put a strict behavioural code in place. While the heart would have let the players relax and spend time with loved ones, Fabio’s head had other plans.

    What was the result of Capello’s strict boot camp?

    England were a lacklustre mess throughout the tournament, a side who just looked like they wanted to go home. One couldn’t help thinking the tense preparations had sucked the joy out of the game for many of them, there was no heart in their performances.  

    More than football

    Our recent failure at international level is reason enough to approach the Olympic football competition differently.

    The Great British team gives us the chance to ditch the head and follow the heart. 

    After all it is the heart that has encouraged Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish footballers to join a united Great British team, despite their FA’s disapproval. 

    To many the Olympics is far more than a football tournament, it is a global celebration of sport. The Olympic competition symbolises the fun of sport and why it means so much to people.

    This is why I can’t understand those arguing against David Beckham’s involvement in the Great British team. 

    Forget he plays in America, forget he is the wrong side of thirty and forget he is no longer in the England squad because it is this sort of thinking that will ostracise one of Great Britain’s most passionate players.

           Beckham's work-ethic, talent, passion and celebrity makes him perfect for team GB [GETTY]

    Our home Olympics give us the chance to be a bit more spontaneous and romantic.
    We should use this special occasion to let our hearts, and legends like David Beckham and Ryan Giggs, guide us. 

    Anyway thinking we might win a competition has only got us into trouble in the past...

    With Capello stating none of the England players involved in Euro 2012 will be taking part in the Olympics, the GB team is already without its strongest players.

    Surely this gives us the opportunity to be more like the Spanish or Brazilian – to approach a tournament with passion, heart and hope. 

    Talent alone is unlikely to make Great Britain the 2012 Olympic Champions but putting less stress on the finer details and letting footballers enjoy playing football might (regardless of what part of the British Isles they hail from).

    Beckham is not a player at the top of his game but one thing is for sure, he will fight to the death for the Great British team. He is the man who can inspire when we find our backs to the walls or when we are looking for a curling cross or game saving free-kick. His legs are ageing, but he has a spirit that has been lacking ever since he left the English team. 

    What better way to make our home Olympics unforgettable than to give pride of place to one of the world’s most famous men.

    The Olympics is the world’s biggest sporting event and it makes sense the world’s biggest sporting icon should be at it. We are lucky he is still in the form and position to do so. 

    We do not need to include David Beckham for charity because there are many reasons he deserves his place in the Great British team and many reasons we deserve to see him perform in it.

    Let us save the over-thinking for the under-performing England team at Euro 2012, but please let us not over think Beckham’s involvement in team GB.

    As Thierry Henry’s recent return to Arsenal has shown, an old favourite can bring a lot of fun to proceedings.

    The Great British team should be guided by the heart – so let’s hope England managers Stuart Pearce and Hope Powell let their romantic and idealistic sides take over. 

    Only a fool would rule out David Beckham leading his nation to glory at London 2012 and we don’t want another one of those in charge.

    Joanna Tilley is a freelance journalist working with Al Jazeera on the Sport website. She has worked at Sky News, Sky Sports News, LBC Radio. Sportasylum.com, TNT Down Under and Wanderlust magazine.

    Follow her on Twitter (@joannatilley) or her website, mythoughtonsport.blogspot.com.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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