Tottenham winger Gareth Bale has suffered an injury that will rule him out of Great Britain’s Olympic football squad.
Bale was widely anticipated to be included in manager Stuart Pearce’s GB team for the Olympic tournament starting at the end of next month.
But it is understood the 22-year-old Wales international has suffered a recurrence of an old back and hip injury after pulling up while running. He has previously made little secret of his desire to represent GB at the Olympics, and last year risked the wrath of the Welsh FA by posing in a British Olympic team shirt without their permission.
The Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish FAs have been vocal in their opposition to providing players to a British team since the Games were awarded to London, although the Welsh have long been resigned to a number of their players taking part.
Bale’s absence means it will instead fall to Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy – who along with Micah Richards comprise the three over-age players in the squad – to lead the Welsh contingent in Pearce’s 18-man selection, which will be formally unveiled tomorrow.
Team GB have been drawn in Group A at the London Games with Senegal, Uruguay and United Arab Emirates.