So much for Team GB… Powell defends nearly all-English women's football squadJust two Scottish players; none from N Ireland or Wales
15:30 GMT, 26 June 2012
Team GB coach Hope Powell has defended her decision to name a squad dominated by England players for London 2012.
Two Scots – Kim Little and Ifeoma Dieke – are the only non-English among the 18 selected for the Games, with Wales and Northern Ireland not represented.
Powell, England's manager since 1998, insists selection for the team's Olympics debut was based purely on picking the strongest possible squad.
London calling: Team GB women's manager Hope Powell with Alex Scott outside Wembley following her squad announcement
GB WOMEN'S FOOTBALL SQUAD
E Aluko, A Asante, K Bardsley, S Bradley, R Brown, K Carney, I Dieke, S Houghton, K Little, C Rafferty, A Scott, J Scott, K Smith, C Stoney, F Williams, R Williams, E White, R Yankey.
Stand-by players: J Clarke, E Higgins, J Ross, D Susi.
'I didn't feel any pressure to include players from Northern Ireland or Wales,' Powell said.
'I was tasked with picking the best squad of players and that's what I've done. We had everyone looked at extensively.
'I took the associations out of the equation and it was just about trying to pick a squad of players that I felt would do the best job possible.
'The location of the first game being in Cardiff did not nag my mind at all when it came to selecting a Welsh player.
'There's no disrespect to anyone, but my task was to pick the best players and I think I've done that.
'It was quite a challenging task and that goes to show the amount of talent we have to choose from.
'Since we knew there'd be a Team GB we spoke to other associations and managers and we had all teams looked at.'
Case for the defence: Powell insists she picked the best 18 players available to her
Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt insists that Powell was given free rein to choose the squad she wanted to take to London 2012.
'We've never put any pressure on selection. It has to be about picking the best players and that's been made very clear,' Hunt said.
Arsenal Ladies playmaker Kelly Smith features in the squad after winning her latest injury battle, having sustained a broken leg in March.
Smith, who has scored 45 goals in 111 caps, has been England's most creative player since beginning her international career in 1995 and Powell was delighted by her fitness.
'Kelly's doing really well. There have been question marks because she's been injured,' Powell said.
'But she's been in intensive rehab and she came on at the weekend. I've spoken to her and our medics.
Support: Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt backs boss Powell and Scott at Wembley
'She's absolutely champing at the bit and is good to go. We all know the sort of player she is and is looking good.'
The eyes of the sporting world will be watching when Team GB open the tournament against New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium on July 25.
It will be the first competitive action of the Games and Powell admits it offers a unique opportunity to catapult the women's game into the public consciousness.
'When we get the squad together we'll make everyone aware of the expectations and the media attention around that opening game,' she said.
'Hopefully everyone will settle into the groove of the Olympics and the main thing is to enjoy it and what it will bring women's football.
'London 2012 gives us a great platform to raise the profile of the women's game.'