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Jul 20, 2012

Pearce glad to have Giggs

Stuart Pearce believes his Team GB squad is benefitting from having Ryan Giggs - not only on the pitch but during training and preparation for the Olympic Games.

Pearce said of working with Giggs, who will captain the men's team: "I have enjoyed it very much. I enjoyed chasing him around and trying to catch him - it's good to have him nailed down and in the same room nowadays.

"He's a great influence for the younger players. That goes before him - there's no doubt about that. He's been incorporated in the coaches' meetings we have had as well - we have sought his advice, bounced things off him. That shows the respect I've got for him.

"I've not done that before with a captain. I started the process with Jordan Henderson, but never had him as inclusive as with Ryan and he's been invaluable, both on and off the pitch as an example to these young players.

"He's got the respect, not just of the players, but the coaching staff as well. The same can be said of Craig Bellamy as well. His standards of professionalism are quite incredible. But Ryan is the captain of the squad and rightly so, and we are proud to have him.''

Team GB face one of the tournament favourites, Brazil, in a friendly at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium on Friday night. He will make a final decision on striker Daniel Sturridge, who is recovering from viral meningitis, after the game.

Brazil boast Santos' rising star Neymar, Porto frontman Hulk and AC Milan's Alexandre Pato among their ranks.

Pearce said: "I think the best thing to do is take the favourites on. When the game was put to me, 'Do we want to take Brazil on or do we want to take somebody on who, on paper, are slightly lesser?', I said I was more than happy to take Brazil on.

"You talk about the magnitude of their squad - I think they have only got one player who is uncapped at senior level. That tells you something about their squad. But I would prefer this game. I think it's the perfect game for us. It sharpens the focus and it does my job for me, to be honest with you.

"I was fortunate enough that my England debut was against Brazil, so I didn't have to be eased in in any shape or form or have words from my coach or manager to sharpen my focus, and the same will apply to our players.

"I won't have to give them too many words - they are playing Brazil, the favourites for the Olympics, and we are on our own soil. It's a fantastic opportunity.''

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