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Possible Team GB starting 11 v South Korea

Team GB finished top of Group A, with two wins and a draw.

Stuart Pearce’s side haven’t shown gold medal winning form yet but have shown flashes of what they are capable of.

They stay in Cardiff to face South Korea in the quarter-finals, with a potential semi-final against tournament favourites Brazil or one of the rank outsiders, Honduras, up for grabs.

Here, Total Football’s Simon Wright gives his view on Pearce’s potential starting 11 for the last eight clash.


Jack Butland

There is no dispute about this position anymore. Jack Butland has been one of the standout performers in the men’s tournament so far.

The 19-year-old has made some outstanding stops and was in top form against Uruguay to keep Luis Suarez of Liverpool very frustrated.

He is a commanding presence at the back and organises the defence very well, showing major maturity for his age.

Birmingham City will be mad to let him go, as he is a real emerging talent for the future, who will go on to become England’s no.1 in the long term.


Micah Richards

Micah Richards can consider being unlucky to have missed out on England’s Euro 2012 squad.

England’s loss is Team GB’s gain and the 24-year-old has turned into a consistent performer throughout the group stages.

After a nervy performance in the centre of defence during a pre-tournament friendly against Brazil, Richards has been moved into his more preferred position of right back and it is a position he has made his own.

He has shown excellent signs of attacking down the wings and that could be a major advantage against an unknown side, which might not know a lot about how he plays his game.

Steven Caulker

Steven Caulker excelled on loan at Swansea City last season and has a bright future ahead of him, even if that might not be at his parent club, Tottenham Hotspur.

Caulker has been very dependable in the defence and when he has the ball, you don’t get nervous that a mistake is just waiting to happen.

He doesn’t have a regular central defender partner, which is something that needs to be sorted out quickly by Pearce, especially as we are now in the knockout stages.

Good in the air, solid on the ball, Caulker is a reliable part of the engine room at the back.

James Tomkins

Stuart Pearce needs to have a settled central defensive pairing and this is still the best one, although James Tomkins has had a terrible time so far.

He had a miserable game against Brazil and was far too slow to react in the move that led to UAE’s goal at Wembley in the second group match.

The West Ham player has looked a Championship defender and with James Collins having just returned to Upton Park, he needs a good performance to convince both international and club manager.

He has had his critics and rightly so in my opinion, so it is time for Tomkins to stand up and be counted from now on.

Neil Taylor

The left-back position is hotly contested, with Danny Rose and Ryan Bertrand both fully capable of doing the job in this position.

However, in Neil Taylor (pictured), Team GB has a left-back that quietly gets the job done with the minimum of fuss.

He was fantastic at Swansea City last season and got forward well to support the midfielders against Uruguay, as well as doing well to nullify the potential threat into the dangerous offensive attack that the South Americans have.

For me, Taylor should be one of the first men on the team sheet.


Ryan Giggs

Giggs was presumably rested for the Uruguay game but his influence on the team is absolutely massive.

At times, he has looked a little bit off the pace but Giggs can provide a calming influence and leads the team by example as an inspirational captain.

He scored the opener against the UAE with a fine header.

Getting a full 90 minutes out of him is going to be difficult but Giggs has to be a starter, in what I believe should be an attacking 4-3-3 formation.

Joe Allen

Welshmen Joe Allen’s stock has been raised throughout these Olympic Games and his price tag could get higher.

With the skill he showed to setup the deciding goal against Uruguay, you can see why Liverpool has shown serious interest in trying to prize him away from current employers, Swansea City.

Allen likes playing attractive football, will always look for the ball and will also get back and help out with defensive duties when required.

His knowledge and understanding of the game and his teammates, especially his Swansea City colleagues mean he has become a vital ingredient of the starting 11.

Tom Cleverley

Injury ruined Tom Cleverley’s first proper season in the Manchester United ranks but he has been touted as the future, once the veteran guard in Paul Scholes and Giggs finally give way.

He has no problems playing in any formation and has adapted really well to playing with Giggs, Allen and Aaron Ramsey in the centre of midfield.

Whereas the legs in Giggs might not be there anymore, Allen and especially Cleverley will have the drive and the energy to chase down a lost cause.

He has a few goals underneath him too and it would be nice to see the midfield chip in with a few more strikes here and again.


Craig Bellamy

I’ve gone for a 4-3-3 setup, which we’ve seen used by a number of Premier League teams and can operate into a 4-5-1 when in defensive scenarios.

Craig Bellamy captained the side against Uruguay and it must have been a great honour for a player, who has shown a lot more maturity as time has progressed.

Bellamy had the honour of scoring the first Team GB goal against Senegal and defenders at this tournament have simply not been able to cope with his pace and energy.

Like Giggs, 90 minutes will be tough for him to complete but he always puts in a 100 per cent performance of commitment and desire.

Daniel Sturridge

Stuart Pearce picked Daniel Sturridge to score the goals and two strikes in three matches is a pretty handy return.

Struggling with fitness to begin with, due to his illness pre-tournament, Sturridge has battled back and is now close to 100 pre cent fit again.

His goal against the UAE was magnificently taken and he got the crucial winner to beat Uruguay too.

He did miss unbelievably from one yard out in the second half of that match but there is no doubt that Sturridge is a danger for any side to deal with.

Scott Sinclair

Scott Sinclair got his first start in midweek and his pace caused some issues for the Uruguay defence.

Sinclair scored within a minute of coming onto the field against UAE, although his goal did come down more to poor goalkeeping than a brilliant individual effort.

He is a wildcard, who is fully capable of causing many problems for the Korean backline.

The chemistry he has with the other Swansea players in the squad is also a big incentive for him to start, instead of Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey.

By Simon Wright – Follow me on Twitter @Siwri88

Follow Total Football on Twitter: @TotalFootball12

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