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Giggs could play for Britain at London Olympics

Manchester United stalwart Ryan Giggs could finally make his debut at an international tournament at the London Olympics.

sports Updated: Jan 19, 2012 02:10 IST

Manchester United stalwart Ryan Giggs could finally make his debut at an international tournament at the London Olympics.

The most decorated player in British football history is under consideration for one of three overage player spots on Britain's Olympic football squad. The Welshman could reunite with former United teammate David Beckham, who is also interested in playing.

The 38-year-old Giggs has played a club-record 895 times for United and won 25 major titles but Wales has not qualified for the World Cup or European Championship since 1976, when Giggs was 2.

England's Football Association is organizing the team and wrote to 191 players from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to sound out their interest in playing in Britain's first Olympic football matches since 1960.

Current Wales internationals Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are also among 184 players who have indicated they would like to play for the combined British Olympic team.

"This is an outstanding response and it confirms what we have believed all along, which is there is widespread interest among players in competing for Team GB at the London 2012 Games," British Olympic Association spokesman Darryl Seibel said. "Clearly, the players recognize just how special this opportunity is."

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all opted against official participation but only seven players contacted, whom the BOA said are from multiple clubs, age ranges and countries, declined.

Players happy to be considered for the Team GB player pool, from which coach Stuart Pearce will pick his final squad, did not need to respond to their FA letter, but the BOA said "a large percentage" confirmed that they wanted to be involved.

Former England captain Beckham, who will be 37 in May, has long since expressed his desire to play. Beckham and Giggs graduated from the same Manchester United youth team and played together until Beckham switched to Real Madrid in 2003.

Giggs made his United debut in 1991 and is still playing for the club, appearing in 14 Premier League matches this season.

The 16-nation Olympic tournament has an age limit of 23, with teams allowed to pick three overage players.

First Published: Jan 19, 2012 02:08 IST