Column: Olympic football needs Giggs and Becks

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“I’d love to play. I’m very proud to have played for my country 115 times” (on whether he expects a spot on the Olympic team).

“She’s very smiley at home. I’d prefer her to be smiling at home than the other way around” (on why Victoria Beckham tends to rarely smile in public).

And, “It still amazes me every time I change the nappy, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, we’ve got a little girl’” (on having a daughter after three boys).

So that’s an argument for Beckham _ that he deserves an Olympic place more than most.

Now Giggs. Despite everything United’s most successful player has achieved in 909 appearances and 22 years for the Red Devils, his misfortune as a footballer is that he’s Welsh and that Wales hasn’t qualified for a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup. So it would be a thrill to see Giggs round out his astounding career with an international hurrah at the Olympics.

In short, Beckham and Giggs together are box office. The Olympic tournament needs them. The really big thing in football this summer isn’t at London 2012, it’s in Poland and Ukraine, at the European Championship they’re co-hosting from Friday.

I, for one, can’t imagine having a huge appetite for more football at the Olympics in July and August after gorging on it at the Euros for three weeks in June.

But if Giggs and Beckham play, I’ll be tuning in.

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John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jleicester(at)ap.org or follow him at http://twitter.com/johnleicester

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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