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Team GB: The standby list

As Team GB begins preparations for Olympics glory, Daniel Sturridge continues to look a doubt for the squad as he suffers with viral meningitis in hospital.

However if football has taught us anything, it’s that it’s considerably unlikely that he will be the only one to pull out through injury or illness.

Unlike England squads, there is no publically known list of ‘back-up’ players for Team GB, though you can be sure that Stuart Pearce will have a number of players in mind should any of his team need to pull out.

Despite none of the initial 18-man squad containing any Nothern Irish or Scottish players, the players rumoured to be in immediate back-up to the squad does contain a Scottish player in Jordan Rhodes.

Rhodes (pictured) is likely to be the favourite to replace Sturridge should he fail to recover in time, however Stuart Pearce has said he will delay this decision for as long as possible.

Sturridge remains a doubt despite announcing encouraging signs of recovery and his own optimism earlier today.

"Thankfully, I am starting to feel a lot better and I am optimistic about being able to make the Olympics,” said Sturridge.

"I am fortunate to have received many wishes of support and I want to thank everybody who has sent messages, it is much appreciated."

No nationality issue

If Huddersfield forward Rhodes is to join the squad, he will be the first Scottish player to actively defy the Scottish FA in their opposition to Team GB. 

Pearce though has insisted nationality was not a consideration when picking the squad, despite the Northern Irish and Scottish FA’s objections due to concerns that they would lose their identity on the international stage.

“I’m a football man and I pick solely on football ability. I have to back my opinion and that’s what I have done,” Pearce said.

“I do enough hours watching matches and I think I’ve done due diligence on all the players here,” he added.

Three other players are also understood to be on the standby list for the squad, including Norwich City defender Ryan Bennett, Wilfred Zaha of Crystal Palace and Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.

Zaha was another who looked fitting to replace Sturridge should he miss out, but the tricky winger looks set to fall behind Rhodes in the replacement list.

Team GB kick-off their Olympic campaign against Senegal on July 26 and although a short standby list has yet to be confirmed, Pearce will actually be able to choose any players from the long-list of 35 as replacements right up until the day before the match.

By Richard Windsor

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