Pearce: Giggs a great influence
Stuart Pearce is far happier having Ryan Giggs under his charge than he ever was chasing him around a football pitch.
The Team GB men's football coach and his 38-year-old captain have joined forces to help spearhead the quest for Olympic glory, and the older man is delighted to have the vastly-experienced Welsh midfielder at his disposal.
Pearce said: "I have enjoyed it very much. I enjoyed chasing him around and trying to catch him - it's good to have him nailed down and in the same room nowadays.
"He's a great influence for the younger players. That goes before him - there's no doubt about that.
"He's been incorporated in the coaches' meetings we have had as well - we have sought his advice, bounced things off him. That shows the respect I've got for him.
"I've not done that before with a captain. I started the process with Jordan Henderson, but never had him as inclusive as with Ryan and he's been invaluable, both on and off the pitch as an example to these young players.
"He's got the respect, not just of the players, but the coaching staff as well. The same can be said of Craig Bellamy as well. His standards of professionalism are quite incredible.
"But Ryan is the captain of the squad and rightly so, and we are proud to have him."
Pearce will make a final decision on striker Daniel Sturridge, who is recovering from viral meningitis, after Friday night's friendly against Brazil at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium.
But, whatever happens with the Chelsea forward, the manager will also have a good idea of his team's prospects after they have taken on one of the pre-tournament favourites with the Brazilians boasting Santos' rising star Neymar, Porto frontman Hulk and AC Milan's Alexandre Pato among their ranks.
Pearce said: "I think the best thing to do is take the favourites on.
"When the game was put to me, 'Do we want to take Brazil on or do we want to take somebody on who, on paper, are slightly lesser?', I said I was more than happy to take Brazil on.
"You talk about the magnitude of their squad - I think they have only got one player who is uncapped at senior level. That tells you something about their squad.
"But I would prefer this game. I think it's the perfect game for us. It sharpens the focus and it does my job for me, to be honest with you.
"I was fortunate enough that my England debut was against Brazil, so I didn't have to be eased in in any shape or form or have words from my coach or manager to sharpen my focus, and the same will apply to our players.
"I won't have to give them too many words - they are playing Brazil, the favourites for the Olympics, and we are on our own soil. It's a fantastic opportunity."