By Sportsmail Reporter
PUBLISHED: 05:32 EST, 28 June 2012 | UPDATED: 09:50 EST, 28 June 2012
David Beckham is stunned after being left out of the Great Britain Olympic football squad by Stuart Pearce.
The former England captain seemed to be certain to be part of the summer event but Micah Richards, Craig Bellamy and Ryan Giggs have been picked as the over-23 players in the 18-man squad.
Pearce called Beckham on Wednesday night to inform him of the decision, explaining that he had enough cover for midfield and he wanted to add experience to his defence.
Scroll down for video
Shock: Only three of the players on the team are allowed to be over 23 years old
Big role: Beckham has played an instrumental part in the run-up to the games
BECKHAM'S OLYMPIC AID
2005 - Played a major part in Britain's successful bid for the Games
2008 - Appeared in the Beijing closing ceremony
2012 - Flew out to Greece to collect the Olympic Torch and carried it in Britain
The 37-year-old superstar, who currently plies his trade for MLS side LA Galaxy, played a massive role in Britain securing the games in 2005 and has stayed involved in a huge capacity since.
Beckham said on Thursday: 'Everyone knows how much playing for my country has always meant to me. So I would have been honoured to have been part of this unique Team GB squad.'
He added: '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.
'As a Londoner, I will have been really proud to have played a small part in bringing the Olympics to my home town as part of Seb's [Coe] team, and I can't wait for the games to begin and enjoy every moment along with the rest of Great Britain.'
Beckham was included in Pearce's 35-man shortlist for the Games but has not made the final cut.
Watching: Stuart Pearce went to see Beckham in action before he made his decision
Beckham's relentless efforts on the Olympic front make his exclusion all the more surprising.
He accompanied the Olympic Flame from Athens to British soil and carried it in Cornwall after it was lit.
Beckham also took part in the closing ceremony at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as part of the London 2012 team, as he racked up the air miles.
He flew from his club in Los Angeles to London to play for England in a friendly against the Czech Republic, before then making it to Beijing for the show and then back to LA for training.
The British Olympic Association will also be surprised by the decision to leave Beckham out.
Curtain call: Beckham at the Beijing closing ceremony
But BOA chief Andy Hunt had previously stated Pearce has free reign to do as he pleases with the squad.
He said: 'Stuart Pearce will make a decision on the best squad available given where he is in respect of now having assessed the players that are not involved in the Euros and the current state of injuries.
'He will then make the best call he can - on merit. I am not putting any pressure of him whatsoever to pick anyone. We discussed the whole topic of selecting over-23 players back more than a year ago but I haven't subsequently.
Effort: London 2012 sport ambassadors (from left) Beckham Sir Steven Redgrave and Denise Lewis
Delight: Beckham and his wife Victoria (left) leave the London 2012 celebration party after London won the Games in 2005
'We have been very clear from the outset, it's absolutely Stuart's choice and he is totally free to make the selection of the team he believes will put in the best performance. It's as simple as that.'
As a global superstar Beckham would have been a big pull for fans to come and watch Team GB at the games and get excited about the Olympic football - which is not normally a major pull.
Beckham is still expected to come to the Games in some aspect and may have a role to play at the opening ceremony.
Beckham could point out that he would have at least been match-fit while all the other players would be entering the tournament after the summer break.
Present and correct: Beckham has flown over the world to help the bid
Giggs and Bellamy were widely expected to be included but the call-up of Richards is also as much of a surprise as the Manchester City defender being left out of England's Euro 2012 squad - after which he refused to go on standby for the European Championship.
Other under-23 players who are almost certain to be confirmed by Pearce include Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey and Tottenham's Gareth Bale.
Manchester United had told the FA in May that they did not want any of their over-age players apart from Welsh winger Giggs to be considered for selection.
The club ruled out Pearce picking Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes and Jonny Evans for the Olympic tournament.
It means United players Tom Cleverley and Chris Smalling, who both missed Euro 2012 through injury, may be part of the Olympic squad.
Beckham could however still play his part in the Games.
Vow: Lord Coe could still find a role for Beckham to play at London 2012
LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe said he would now discuss a 'Games time role' with the globally recognised sports figure who played a role in London winning the Olympics.
Beckham has been used extensively in the buildup to the event and helped to bring back the flame from Greece.
'David has been an extraordinary supporter, probably our No 1 supporter, of the Games from the very beginning and is keen to continue his enthusiastic support right to the end,' said Coe.
'He really gets this. He is from East London and knows how important the Games and sport are to young people.
'He is a great role model and we are lucky to have such an advocate. I will be talking to him about a Games time role.'
As a result of the decision to leave Beckham out of the Team GB football squad, odds have been slashed for him to light the Olympic cauldron. British bookmakers Ladbrokes quoted odds of 5/1.
In: Ryan Giggs (right) looks set to be named in the Team GB squad
Critics, who believe football has an uneasy place in the Games because of the vast sums of money professionals earn, have said they would be uncomfortable with the Olympics becoming a 'David Beckham show'.
The Olympic soccer tournament, originally designed for amateurs but now the only Games event to have an age limit, is not so highly regarded in Europe where the World Cup and European Championship are seen as the elite tests.
Olympic football is popular among South American players, however.
Hosts Britain, taking part in their first Olympic soccer finals since 1960, will kick off their bid for gold against Senegal at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium on July 26.
The Welsh Football Association, along with the Scots and Northern Irish, have been concerned that the inclusion of their players in a rare British squad for the Games could affect their soccer independence but football’s world governing body FIFA has tried to allay their fears.
If you still want to keep the Beckham dream alive, why not pay a visit to sportsdirect.com?
They were selling Team GB football shirts on Thursday morning with his name printed on the back at £49.99 each.
VIDEO: Beckham snubbed by Team GB despite all his work to secure the games...
Headlines Newsview all
Ebola could hit 15 countries across Africa: Study of how disease has spread in past finds 70million people may be at risk of infection
The Ebola outbreak could hit 15 countries across Africa - putting the lives of 70 million people at risk, a groundbreaking study has found. In a ...
Britain is to forge closer economic ties with China after Chancellor George Osborne announced £2.4billion in new commercial deals with the People’s Republic. As the annual ...
Donations have poured in for Manchester Dogs’ Home after a fire ripped through the premises, killing more than 53 dogs last night. A JustGiving page set ...
Rate this article
MOST POPULAR ON CAPITALBAY
Devastated mother tells of anguish at watching teenager drown in lake tragedy not realising it was her own son
A devastated mother has spoken of her anguish at witnessing a teenager drown in a reservoir tragedy, not realising it was her own son. Melanie Goodship, ...
I've had no complaints about my kissing, says Miliband as he admits he FORGOT to mention the deficit in his conference speech
Ed Miliband today insisted said his wife has 'never complained' about his kissing technique after an awkward moment during his party conference speech. The Labour leader ...
Philip Hammond was speaking to CNN at United Nations summit in New York He said the hunt for ISIS executioner with a London accent was moving ...
Man pulled four-door sedan up to security gate without putting it into 'park' Rolled right through gate while man scrambled to catch up with his vehicle Onlookers ...
This wouldn't happen in CSI! Hilarious moment road sweeper ducks underneath police cordon and starts cleaning up a crime scene closed off for forensic investigators
Amused passerby photographs eager road sweeper cleaning crime scene The woman went under a police 'do not cross' cordon to collect the litter But watching police officers ...
This nurse and single mum could be deported to the Philippines because her 9 year old son has AUTISM and will 'be a burden on the health system'
Nurse and son set to be deported from Australia due to the child's autism Maria Sevilla and son Tyrone have lived in Australian since 2007 Their family ...
Rob Greenfield, 28, saw huge amounts of food thrown away on cycling tripDecided to survive by eating only from dumpsters for a monthIs touring the ...
Karen Michelle Williams was last seen in August 1990 Friends last saw her leaving a party in the remote opal mining town of Cooper Pedy in ...
I want some! Sneaky pet pooch watches owner eating watermelon... but looks away each time he's caught staring
Man pretends to eat his food while dog tries to grab a sneaky peek Just before man eats he glances at dog and dog hurriedly turns away Pomeranian ...
Jordanian court ruled there was insufficient evidence against Abu Qatada He was linked with plans to target Israeli and U.S tourists, and diplomats Earlier David Cameron insisted ...