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Team GB 80 man shortlist: Pearce ready to defy Wenger over Wilshere

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Stuart Pearce's Team GB shortlist looks set to include Jack Wilshere when the former England defender makes his next cut.

Wilshere is on the 80 man shortlist and Pearce says he is ready to defy Gunners boss Arsene Wenger and include the Arsenal midfielder in his final squad.

Wenger has ruled Wilshere out but Pearce says he will make up his own mind about that.

“We’re in constant contact with Arsenal and we’ll see how this one rides," said the team GB manager. “But will any manager get a veto over who I select? Of course not.

"We would obviously let them know if their players are in contention and the dates they would need to be made available, but we’re talking about Great Britain here, the Olympic Games. If you strip it down solely to the players, this is an opportunity of a lifetime."

Pearce added: “Lionel Messi took his club to court because he wanted to play at the Olympics. That’s the best player in the world.

'We're not asking them to miss a competitive match'

"I wouldn’t want to get into a legal battle, but we’re not talking about taking players away for a whole season. We’re not even asking them to miss a competitive match.”

Pearce and Wenger have not seen eye to eye over the selection of Wilshere in the past and England's interim boss says Wenger is the only manager to cause problems over his selection policy.

“Over a four-year period I have only ever heard Arsene Wenger’s name mentioned in respect to this,” said Pearce, who has also managed England's under-21s.

Wilshere has not played competitively since England’s 2-2 draw with Switzerland in June last year. He sustained an ankle injury in pre-season the following month then, during his rehabilitation, he suffered a stress fracture in his right foot.

Wenger has said that selection for the Olympics would be "the worst idea" for Wilshere.

“That’s his opinion," added Pearce. "I can’t change his opinion, and it’s not of great concern to me."

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