CHRIS Coleman wishes none of his Wales players had been selected for the Team GB Olympic squad and has confessed he understands rather than supports Stuart Pearce’s selection.
Pearce explained when announcing his squad that he had spoken to Coleman and that the Wales manager had been supportive of his decision to include four of Wales’ likely World Cup qualifying team in his 18-man squad.
However, Coleman paints a rather different picture and reiterated he would be far happier if his players had been left out.
“There have been lots of talk about the FAW not being happy but I’m the one who has been having the conversations and I work for the FAW,” he said.
“Sometimes when people don’t know the truth they tend to make it up.
“I haven’t changed my stance since day one, I did not want them (the Welsh players) to go, but I understand why they want to play.
“I understand Stuart Pearce wanting to pick his strongest team too.
“I had a conversation with him when I was in the back of a taxi. Stuart called me and he reeled off four or five names and I said listen, wherever you are, you might as well come to London and kick me in the you know where’s because it’d be easier that way!
“And then we had a laugh about it. He knows my thinking but I respect he’s doing his job and what is best for himself.”
While Coleman doesn’t support Pearce’s decision to select five Welshman (Ryan Giggs also in the squad) he does believe he made the right call by excluding David Beckham.
“He has had a bit of pressure for not picking David Beckham but I understand why he didn’t, he is picking the strongest team to win a gold medal,” he said. “He could’ve taken Beckham and pleased a lot of people in high places and been a good PR move, he’s picked the best team in his view.”
Coleman was honest enough to admit his happiness that a minor back injury has ruled Gareth Bale out of Team GB contention.
“We are hoping Bale is OK, he played a lot of football last year and it’s taken a toll, he needs a rest and I was a bit relieved he’s not at the Olympics if I am honest,” he said.
However, Coleman won’t tell his players to concern themselves with suspension or injury. If a Wales player is sent off for Team GB, it would lead to them missing Wales’ first World Cup qualifier with Belgium.
“I can’t speak to my players about suspensions, they can’t be going into tackles half-heartedly or they shouldn’t be there. I wouldn’t be treating them properly if I had that conversation,” he said.
Coleman has back new intermediate team manager Geraint Williams to be a big success.
“It is an important appointment, these are the players of the future and we needed someone to continue the good work Brian Flynn did,” he said.
“We’ve taken our time and we felt George (Geraint) was that man to take us forward.”
Coleman also confirmed to the Argus that he has offered John Hartson a coaching role, though the specifics aren’t yet clarified.