Chelsea and Man United could dominate Team GB 2016

As debate rages over a potential Olympic football team in Rio, we look at a possible line-up - including Chelsea and Manchester United stars.


The FA has prompted controversy after announcing that it hopes to field a Team GB football side at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Governing bodies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland refused to give their official support at London 2012, but did not stop their players from being called up, on the understanding that it was a one-off to mark the Games being held on home soil.

While the footballing big-wigs argue the toss over the rights and wrongs, here we look at who might make the first XI next summer - likely to be led by England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate, who wants his young charges to get tournament experience.

Goalkeeper: Jack Butland

Stoke stopper was also named in the 2012 Olympic squad, and has since established himself as first-choice for Southgate's Under-21s, reaching 27 caps at that level.

The form of Asmir Begovic at the Britannia has prevented Butland from making his mark on the first team, and further top level experience would be useful for his development.

His main rival for the number one shirt here would be Liverpool and Wales keeper Danny Ward, the 21-year-old who was called into Chris Coleman's senior squad last time out.

Right Back: Paddy McNair

Hailed by Louis Van Gaal as having the potential to be Manchester United's right back for the next decade, it's hard to overlook the 19-year-old for this role.

Not 20 until the end of the season, McNair has already represented Northern Ireland's Under-21 side twice, and has made 13 first team appearances at Old Trafford this term.

Left Back: Luke Garbutt

The flying wing back looks to have picked up plenty from Leighton Baines at Everton, and has made impressive first-team forays this season - his crossing ability and dynamism earning plaudits, particularly in the Europa League.

Turning 23 next summer, Rio could be the final step for the rangy full back before challenging Baines properly.

Tottenham's Welsh defender Ben Davies is Garbutt's likely competition, along with Hull's Scottish full back Andrew Robertson.

Centre backs: Tyler Blackett and Jamaal Lascelles

Like right back McNair, Blackett was given a shock shot at the Manchester United first team this season, and hasn't looked hopelessly out of place.

Composed on the ball, agile, and strong, Blackett looks a real prospect - although he still has some way to develop before becoming first choice at the Red Devils, and may well need loan or international experience first.

Something his potential partner can vouch for.

Newcastle-owned Lascelles has been part of a resurgent Nottingham Forest side, who could make a late push for a play-off place. Next season will be his first on Tyneside, after agreeing a £4.5million deal last August.

This has been a topsy-turvy campaign for the centre back, who may well have had his head turned by the transfer, but the Olympics should provide some focus.

Midfielders: Lewis Baker, Will Hughes, and Ryan Gauld

Gauld, dubbed the 'Scottish Messi', is one of the most exciting talents on the continent, and has been highly touted since Sporting Lisbon snapped him up from Dundee United last summer.

Having made his first-team breakthrough recently, Gauld will probably be a full international by the time of the Rio tournament, which could provide a showcase for him to earn a big-money move back to Britain.

Alongside him could be another long-term prospect, Will Hughes, whose performances at Derby this season have helped guide the Rams into a promotion push.

As a result, he has been linked with the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal, and is almost certain to be a Premier League player next term.

Anchoring that bombastic duo would require plenty of discipline, something that Chelsea starlet Baker has in abundance.

Last July, Jose Mourinho vowed that Baker would become a full England international under his tutelage, just weeks before being named captain of England's Under-20 side.

Loan stints at Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons have given Baker vital first-team football, but Mourinho will probably be happy to see the 19-year-old given further experience in Rio.

This is also a position where the three 'Overs' players might be preferred - Ryan Giggs was included in the 2012 squad.

Forwards: George Williams, Nathan Redmond, and Patrick Bamford.

Welsh winger Williams has already represented his country five times, at the tender age of 19, and is seen as the perfect potential foil for mega-star Gareth Bale.

Williams came through the ranks at MK Dons, becoming their youngest ever player and goal-scorer, before Fulham swooped. He can play wide, or in the hole, and his versatility would suit this 4-3-3 system, allowing him to alternate with Gauld and Hughes.

More of an out-and-out wideman, Norwich star Redmond would bring direct running, pace, and dribbling ability to the side.

Capable of doing a job on either wing - or off a front-man - Redmond is a threat from anywhere, and has a slew of Premier League admirers.

Though Harry Kane might be the prime eligible player for the centre forward berth, the likelihood is that the Tottenham talisman will be rested next summer for senior duties.

Instead, Chelsea's Patrick Bamford could lead the line - especially if his performances this season at Middlesborough are anything to go by.

He has notched 13 times for the Teesiders, including the opening goal in the shock victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup.

First-team chances at Chelsea could be limited next term, so a summer away in Rio getting game-time would certainly appeal.

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