Great Britain manager Stuart Pearce was forced to make a tough decision regarding the Olympic team fate of David Beckham. Give credit to him for making the right one.
Beckham was not one of the three overage players selected for the squad by Pearce, according to Martin Rogers of Yahoo! Sports. Instead, Micah Richards, Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy were chosen to represent the home nation at the marquee event.
It's a disappointing turn of events for Beckham, who worked hard to help London land the games and expressed his desire to play on the team. He handled the decision like a consummate professional, though, saying he will transition to being a fan.
"Everyone knows how much playing for my country has always meant to me," Beckham said. "So I would have been honored to be part of this unique Team GB squad. Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me. And like everyone, I will be hoping they can win the gold."
It wouldn't have been a surprise to see Beckham make the squad, perhaps for sentimental reasons more than anything else. But Pearce's decision shows that he is more interested in winning games than making headlines.
At age 37, Beckham simply isn't the same dynamic playmaker he was during his prime. His pinpoint passes and amazing free kicks made him a fan favorite in England, but those skills have slowly faded as his body has succumbed to the wear and tear of a long career.
The midfielder has tallied just two goals and four assists in 14 games for the Los Angeles Galaxy this season. That lack of production against lesser competition probably played a role in Pearce electing to look elsewhere.
Richards will give the squad a boost at the back after another strong season with Manchester City. Giggs and Bellamy should fill the veteran presence and leadership role that Beckham would have assumed had he made cut.
While fans would have enjoyed getting to see Beckham play for his home country in one more major tournament, he wouldn't have brought enough to the team to merit a spot on the final roster. Pearce wants his team to have a strong showing at the Olympics and Great Britain certainly has a chance to win a medal.
As with any big tournament, depth is key. Having that extra defender is more important than making room for Beckham, who probably wouldn't have made a major impact.
It was a tough call to for Pearce, but he can rest assured that he did what was best for the team.