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Tom Cleverley optimistic for an Olympic medal
Great Britain midfielder Tom Cleverley insists there is enough ability in Stuart Pearce’s squad to challenge for an Olympic medal.
GB get their group campaign under way against Senegal at Old Trafford tomorrow night as huge underdogs to end victorious at Wembley on August 11.
Brazil and Spain are assumed to be likely finalists, with Uruguay the most obvious challengers to their duopoly. As Uruguay are Team GB’s final group stage opponents, a win is of paramount importance for Cleverley and his team-mates.
But despite the depressing backdrop, the former Bradford youth team player has struck an optimistic chord. The Manchester United play-maker said: “There is enough quality here. There is everything in this squad: youth, experience, enthusiasm, speed, technical ability and a good manager.
“There is no reason why we can’t do well. It is a strong tournament but if we work hard and turn up on the day, I am sure we will be amongst the medals.”
With over 70,000 tickets sold, Pearce is eager to maintain focus on the job his side have in front of them. He has quickly decided not to make an issue of Gareth Bale’s absence and will not be making a formal complaint to FIFA about the midfielder’s presence on Tottenham’s pre-season tour of the United States, even though he was ruled out of Olympic duty due to a back injury.
Indeed, with just 18 players to choose from, Pearce is delighted to have come through a final training session without any injury scares.
That means Cleverley will be fit after a succession of injuries last term which wrecked what had been a pretty impressive start to his senior United career. He said: “I don’t want the tag of being injury prone. I was unlucky last season. I was on the wrong end of a couple of bad tackles that ended up being long-term problems.
“To be back playing is all I want to do. It is all I work for. Being back for the Olympics makes it even sweeter. Hopefully I will have an injury free season and win lots of silverware.”