RYAN Giggs hopes London 2012 will not signal the end for Team GB’s football team.
Stuart Pearce’s squad entered the Athletes Village at the Olympic Park tonight for the first time following a warm-weather training camp in Spain.
There was much controversy around the make-up of the group, with objections from the other Home Nations, who were concerned over how selection of their players could impact on future independent international status within FIFA.
In the end, only five Welshmen were included in Pearce’s final 18-man squad, as Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, Liverpool winger Craig Bellamy, Swansea duo Neil Taylor and Joe Allen joined Giggs, who captains the side.
The London Olympics will be the first time that Team GB have competed in the men’s football competition since 1960.
However, 38-year-old Manchester United midfielder Giggs sees no reason why 2012 should be on the last Games at which Team GB goes for football glory.
“I hope it is not a one off, based on what I have experienced and how much I have enjoyed it this week,” said Giggs.
“I hope in future Olympics there will be more Great Britain teams.
“Both Craig and I are Welsh and proud of it, but for me it was a chance I could not turn down, of playing in the biggest sporting event in the world.
“I am glad I have done because so far everything has gone great and hopefully that will continue.”
Giggs added: “I have had nothing but positive feedback from the people I know, wanting me to do well.
“The different FAs may have opposed it, but people who I have met face to face have been nothing but positive.
“I am not a politician, but from what I have experienced, I just hope fellow British footballers can experience what I have.”
Liverpool forward Bellamy - one of Pearce’s three overage picks, which did not include former England captain David Beckham - echoed Giggs’ sentiments that the Team GB experience should be “embraced”.
The 33-year-old said: “It has been immense.
“The week away could not have gone any better, all the boys have really got on.
“I never thought this was going to happen, for me to be involved in anything like this.
“I am just want to embrace this and enjoy every moment. This is something I am going to cherish for the rest of my life.”
Pearce worked with many of GB squad during their time in the England Under-21 set-up.
The former Manchester City boss believes everything is coming together ahead of next week’s friendly with gold medal favourites Brazil in Middlesbrough, with the tournament kicking off against Senegal at Old Trafford, Manchester on July 26.
“As a group we have gelled fantastically well, I am really pleased with the way they have come together, which has been quicker than I thought,” said Pearce.
“The venue in Spain was ideal and we are delighted with the week we had.
“I set teams up to try to win the tournament with the best players I have available.
“A partial success as well would be all of these players going back to their clubs saying what a fantastic experience they had.”
Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge has now joined up with the GB squad after a spell in hospital with viral meningitis.
The 22-year-old will be assessed as the squad head north to prepare for the Brazil game.
“There was certainly doubts because of the illness he had,” said Pearce.
“Our fitness and conditioning people are having a look at him, to see how he will come through training.
“Chelsea’s medical people are more than happy, but I have got to be 100% sure in my mind that Daniel is fit enough and can see out a tournament.”