Sir Alex fury at Olympic selection
Manchester United's manager Sir Alex Ferguson has reacted with incredulity to having a dozen players – including Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs – put on standby for the Olympic Games tournament that clashes with British clubs' pre-season preparations. He has predicted "absolute chaos" and called it "ridiculous" that so many players from leading clubs could be involved in a competition that does not finish until the day before the Community Shield, on the weekend before the Premier League begins.
Ten United players – nine of whom we can reveal – are in the long list of 80 selected by Stuart Pearce as Great Britain compete for the first time since 1960. They include Rooney, even though Pearce has agreed that anyone going to the European Championship will not be considered.
In addition, Mexico's Javier Hernandez has been named as an over-age player and Spain have picked David de Gea. As Ben Amos is on the Great Britain list, Ferguson fears he could be left with just one senior goalkeeper for the pre-season period.
"It's ridiculous," he said. "There are so many complications attached to it. Then the England Under-19s are in a competition and the FA have nominated five of our players who are supposed to be going on our pre-season tour. It's absolute chaos. And it's the start of the season. I would imagine Tottenham and Aston Villa will also have a few [selected]."
The clubs' trump card is that players can decline selection and although Under-23 players who want to be included have to be released, that does not apply to the three over-age squad members allowed. So United could deny players like Giggs or – in the unlikely event that he does not go to the Euros – Rooney the chance of a medal.
Manchester United face Everton at lunchtime today at Old Trafford where victory would open up an eight-point gap at the top before Manchester City face Wolves at Molineux, in a 4pm kick-off.
United's Olympic dozen:
- Ben Amos (age 22, GB)
- Tom Cleverley (22, GB)
- Jonny Evans (24, GB)
- Wayne Rooney (26, GB)
- Chris Smalling (22, GB)
- Danny Welbeck (21, GB)
- Ashley Young (26, GB)
- Ryan Giggs (38, GB)
- Phil Jones (20, GB)
To be confirmed (GB)
- Javier Hernandez (23, Mexico)
- David de Gea (21, Spain)