Fletcher backed by Giggs

Ryan Giggs believes Manchester United team-mate Darren Fletcher would have been a major contender for Team GB had it not been for the chronic bowel condition that threatens his career.

No Scotland player has been included in Stuart Pearce's 18-man squad, which instead is made up of Englishmen, with the addition of five from Wales.

Giggs is one of that number, as is another overage player, Craig Bellamy.

But Giggs feels Fletcher would have been in with a chance too had he now not been fighting a far more serious battle, having failed to make his anticipated return to training after taking an indefinite break from the game last December.

"Fletch is concentrating on trying to get fit for United so I don't think he would have been thinking too much about missing out on this,'' said Giggs.

"Hopefully he will just start training and playing again because he is a talent and a really important player for both United and Scotland.

"But I'm sure if he had been playing regularly then Stuart (Pearce) would have had a decision to make because he definitely would have been in the reckoning."

Whilst Fletcher can only hope his symptoms ease sufficiently to play for United again, over the next month Giggs has the opportunity to complete the empty chapter in his career.

English football's most decorated player never got closer to a major tournament than a couple of near misses with Wales.

As part of that famed 'Class of 92', it hurt to spend his summers watching when David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers were part of the action.

Now he is experiencing it for himself.

And, after a week in Spain, he already sees the differences.

"My career for my country has obviously been the total opposite to the one for my club," said the 38-year-old.

"I've been so successful with United but not so with Wales.

"I would always watch the other lads, especially those ones I grew up with, go away on international tournaments and wish that I could do the same.

"Unfortunately I never got the chance.

"But now I have even in the first few days together I've seen things that I haven't seen in my career.

"It's been an eye opener, and really enjoyable as well."

And, unlike those who have rejected the tournament, purely on the basis of the British aspect of a sport traditionally split across the Home Nations, Giggs insists victory would rank alongside anything he has won before.

"Right up there," he said.

"I don't like to prioritise medals because every single one means something special.

"But of course, this would be different because you never thought you'd be competing in an Olympics. To win a gold medal would be special.''