MANCHESTER, England, October 21 – Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is unenthusiastic about the prospect of some of his star players appearing for a Great Britain team in the London Olympic Games next summer.
The English Football Association on Thursday appointed England under-21 manager Stuart Pearce as head coach of the Olympic team, giving him free rein to choose his side from across Britain.
Uncertainty remains over whether Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish players will be made available, however, because of opposition from those respective associations to the Olympic team.
However, with the majority of an Olympic squad required to be under-23, it has been assumed that many of Manchester United’s promising youngsters will figure prominently in Pearce’s thinking.
In what is certain to be the first of many such pronouncements by the United manager, Ferguson has set out his case for why playing in the tournament, just weeks after the 2012 European Championship, and a short time before the start of the 2012-13 Premier League season, is a bad idea.
“I’m over the moon,” smiled Ferguson, sarcastically, when asked of his view of the situation.
“I think this is actually spurred out of the fact that, at the last Olympics, Argentina and Nigeria played their strongest teams, I think that’s where it comes from, really.
“It’s given an opening for the British Olympic team to start thinking the same way. But we have a different type of football to abroad, as everyone knows.
“The intensity of the English game is second to none, it’s an exhausting, exacting season. I keep saying, this is why I never expect England to do well at a European Championship or World Cup, because players have been through a hell of a season. It’s very difficult to get the bar up again once you have been through a season in the English game.
“It is exactly the same with the Olympics. I don’t see how they could possibly get players to raise the bar after the season they have had in our game.
“They need their rest, need their pre-season training, need their recovery and recuperation from injuries, small injuries they have carried right through the season.
“I’m sure it won’t make any difference to them, what I am saying, but it is a fact.”
Ferguson, meanwhile, has re-assessed his view of the red card received by his defender Nemanja Vidic in the midweek Champions League victory at Romanian team Otelul Galati.
The Serbian international was shown a straight red card by German referee Felix Brych for a high challenge on Gabriel Giurgiu, a decision that Ferguson disagreed with at the time.
“At the time, I thought it was really, really harsh,” said Ferguson. “I thought it was a bad decision.
“But when you view it, his foot is raised and, in the context of today, particularly German football, referees are very, very strict. I wasn’t surprised when I saw a video replay of it. The foot was high, without making any contact.”