With Team GB coming off the back of their most successful Olympics ever, the only thing that was missing was a men’s and women’s football team. Off-field issues got in the way of sending a mixed side to Brazil and another shot at adding to a record-breaking medal haul.
But what if there was a British XI made up of medal winners from Rio? Just for fun, we put together a football side featuring all your favourite Olympians…
GK – Maddie Hinch
There is quite literally nobody else who could play goalkeeper for Team GB than hockey star Maddie Hinch. Whilst credit has to go to every member of the hockey side that won gold in dramatic fashion, it’s fair to say the 27-year-old goalkeeper played a crucial role in that success.
A string of sensational saves in the final against the Netherlands followed by heroics in the penalty shootout means Hinch is an automatic choice for selection.
RB – Laura Trott
Who else would you want flying up and down your wing than someone who flew around a velodrome and won everything there is to win on the bike?
In Laura Trott you get stamina, experience and outright pace to support your attackers and we can think of someone perfect to complement her on the other side of defence…
CB – Andy Murray
Very few people in tennis have the defensive armoury that Andy Murray now possesses. These days it’s almost impossible to get the ball past him and what more do you want from your commanding centre-back?
He’s a leader, he’s feisty, and he doesn’t lack pace either. The perfect defender to cover all areas whilst your full-backs go rampaging up the field.
CB – Jade Jones
Alongside the captain is taekwondo champion Jade Jones because, let’s be honest, you wouldn’t mess with her, would you? Agile, young, and probably just as likely to get sent off as Gary Wackett, but complements the composed Murray brilliantly.
At less than 6ft she lacks the height of her defensive partner but that never stopped Fabio Cannavaro winning a World Cup.
LB – Jason Kenny
We did say we had the perfect person to complement Laura Trott at left-back… And who better than her fiancé and record-breaking cycling champion Jason Kenny?
He possesses the same strengths as Trott: discipline, pace and stamina. In Kenny and his fiancee, you won’t get a better full-back pairing at the Olympics than these two.
CM – Mo Farah
Moving onto the serious business now, and putting together a strong centre midfield pairing is crucial to a successful team. In double double Olympic champion Farah you’ve got your very own N’Golo Kante bossing the midfield.
He’d never stop running and has the stamina to undoubtedly last a full 90 minutes week in, week out. He is an Arsenal fan, though, so his mentality for a title challenge could come into question…
CM – Max Whitlock
Max Whitlock surprised everyone in Rio by winning two gold medals in the Gymnastics and put himself straight into the frame for a spot in our team.
With Farah covering all bases alongside him, the 23-year-old can use his agility and skill to bewitch opponents and move the ball forward to the attackers.
RM – Emily Diamond
Jess Ennis-Hill was a prime candidate for this position but with a hard worker based on the left-hand side, we looked at someone with raw pace to trouble defenders on the other side.
Emily Diamond’s superb leg of the 4x400m relay final saw her pass several opponents and the right-hand side is made even stronger by the fact she’d have Trott zooming past her at every opportunity.
CAM – Justin Rose
Team GB were so good in Rio that we even managed to take home the first gold medal in golf in over 100 years. With some seriously accurate putting under pressure, Rose would be the perfect person to thread through those passes to the strikers.
At 36, he lacks pace but he more than makes up for it in experience and would provide the cool head to some of the youngsters around him.
LM – Alistair Brownlee
Whilst just three years older than his compatriot on the other flank, 28-year-old Brownlee doesn’t have the outright pace of Diamond and will be used more as a defensive buffer to help out Kenny.
His performance in the triathlon proves he would have no problem going the distance and would provide ample cover at the back when things get tricky.
ST – Alex Danson
Away from football, nobody hit the back of the net as much as hockey star Alex Danson during the Rio Olympics. Alongside Hinch, the 31-year-old forward was part of the team that brought home gold against the Netherlands, scoring three goals in the group stage plus two huge strikes in the semi-final.
Brilliantly accurate with her shooting, Danson played a crucial role in Team GB’s success on the field and is the perfect player to lead the line for our side. But in true British fashion she did miss her penalty in the final…
Written by Rich Laverty
Follow Rich @RichJLaverty