Whatever happened to… the London 2012 Team GB men’s squad?
Former England Under-21 head coach Stuart Pearce assembled a group of talented youngsters for the Olympics, but they only managed to reach the quarter-finals and their careers took very different paths after the Games, writes Alasdair Hooper.
Jack Butland was a 19-year-old with Birmingham City at the time of the Olympics and was widely considered one of the most promising goalkeepers in England.
He moved on to Stoke in the Premier League before establishing himself as first-choice keeper for several seasons, but his form dropped after they were relegated to the Championship. Butland signed for Crystal Palace in October 2020 but has only played two games for them since.
Taylor had just completed his first season of Premier League football with Swansea by the time London 2012 came around.
He’d continue to play for the Welsh side for several more seasons before moving on to Aston Villa in January 2017. He left the club at the end of last season and is currently a free agent.
The then-22-year-old had just won the Champions League with Chelsea after famously making his debut in the final.
He’d go on to play for Southampton for most of his career, after an initial loan spell was followed by a permanent switch in 2015, before joining Leicester this summer at the age of 31.
It seems strange now, but Danny Rose was listed as a midfielder in the Team GB squad. He had made a few appearances for Tottenham by that point in his career, but it was shortly after the Olympics while on loan move at Sunderland that he really established himself in the Premier League.
He would go on to become first-choice left-back for Spurs for several seasons but has fallen down the pecking order in the last couple of years. In June 2021, Watford announced they had signed Rose on a free transfer to help them in their return to the top flight.
Caulker was just 20 years old while starring at the Games and another youngster touted for big things following a successful season on loan at Swansea.
In 2014, he joined Queens Park Rangers after a spell at Cardiff before being loaned to Southampton and Liverpool. After a short stint at Dundee, he has since reignited his career in Turkey with Alanyaspor, which won him a move to Fenerbahce this summer.
Dawson was 22 and playing for West Brom when the Team GB call came along. After several seasons at the Hawthorns, he moved to Watford in 2019 but was loaned to West Ham last season after their relegation.
Proving the doubters wrong, he has arguably just enjoyed his best season in the Premier League after establishing himself as a first-choice centre-back in the Hammers team that qualified for Europe. He made the move to the London Stadium permanent this summer.
Cleverley earned his Team GB call-up with several standout performances for Manchester United. He would go on to become a regular for the club over the next couple of years, picking up a 2013 Premier League winners’ medal in the process.
After several loan spells, he made a permanent switch to Everton in 2015. In 2017, he was once again loaned to Watford before signing a permanent deal with the club.
Another of the Welsh contingent among Team GB, Allen had earned himself a good reputation at Swansea and would follow then-manager Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool after the Olympics.
But midfielder Allen failed to make the grade at Anfield and joined Stoke in 2016, the club he still plays for today.
A year after his Olympics exploits, the then-Chelsea striker won a move to Liverpool where he would form a deadly partnership with Luis Suarez, which saw them go agonisingly close to taking the Premier League title in 2014. However, his career has been derailed by injuries and he is currently without a club after being released by Trabzonspor last year.
The first of the three senior players Pearce was permitted to include, Craig Bellamy was 33 at the time and had just completed his second spell with Liverpool.
After the Olympics he moved back home to play for Cardiff before retiring in 2014. He is currently the Under-21 manager at Belgian side Anderlecht.
The Team GB captain’s career needs no introduction after 23 years playing for Manchester United. Despite his glittering club success, Giggs never starred at a major tournament with Wales.
He was 38 years of age at the time of the Olympics, where he would become the oldest goalscorer in tournament history after heading home against the UAE. He is currently the manager of Wales.
The then-23-year-old had just broken into the West Ham first team ahead of the Olympics, helping them to promotion from the Championship and back into the Premier League.
He would go on to make over 200 appearances for the club before a move to Crystal Palace in 2016 where he remains today.
Cork was a regular in the Southampton midfield by this point in his career and had just helped them win promotion to the Premier League.
He made 127 appearances for the Saints before moving to Swansea in 2015 but has now settled in at Burnley following his 2017 switch.
Richards had just come off the back of Manchester City’s famous title-winning campaign, with the right-back playing in most of their league games that year. Although he didn’t make the grade for England’s Euro 2012 team, he was selected for Team GB as one of the over-age players at 24 years old.
His career never reached the heights many expected and after contending with several injuries following his spell at Aston Villa, he retired in 2019. However, Richards has quickly established himself as one of the most vibrant, knowledgeable, and likeable pundits on TV right now.
The Welshman was a 21-year-old star in the making by the time London 2012 came around and has enjoyed a successful career despite several injury problems.
He would continue to play for Arsenal until 2019, making a total of 369 appearances across his Gunners career, before joining Juventus. The midfielder still plies his trade with the Italian giants.
The winger – aged 23 at the time – was another who had just come off a successful Premier League season with Swansea. That form earned him a move to Manchester City shortly after the Olympics, but his playing time soon became limited.
He would go on to have loan spells with West Brom and Aston Villa, which was followed by a permanent switch, before reuniting with his old Swans boss Rodgers for a trophy-laden spell at Celtic in 2016. He is now turning out for Championship side Preston North End.
Sordell was a promising young forward with Bolton when he was selected for Team GB but for most of his career, he plied his trade in the Football League.
In July 2019, aged just 28, he terminated his contract with Burton Albion and retired from football due to mental health struggles. He has since gone on to become a powerful speaker on racism and mental health in the game.
Then-Middlesbrough ace Steele was the back-up goalkeeper with Team GB. He would make over 140 appearances for the club before leaving for Blackburn in 2014.
In 2017, he joined Sunderland before moving to his current club Brighton the following year, but he has only made five appearances for the team.
Follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper1992
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