Ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Football tournament, which will begin on 4 August, the 16 competing countries have now announced their squads, which include a number of players based in the English Premier League.
Whilst Arsenal could potentially be represented at the Olympics by two players, one player from each of Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham may feature in Rio.
The only country whose squad contains more than one English Premier League player is Portugal’s, with their manager Rui Jorge naming Manchester United goalkeeper Joel Pereira and Liverpool centre half Thiago Llori among his 18-man squad.
Nigeria manager Sunday Oliseh did call up five English Premier League based players to his provisional 35-man squad but only Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel has made the Super Eagles final pool of 18.
Omitted from that for a variety of different reasons were the quartet of Odion Ighalo (Watford), Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) and Kenneth Omeru (Chelsea).
In addition to Nigeria and Portugal, three other countries have included an English Premier League player in their squads. Whilst Arsenal midfielder Serge Gnabry has been selected to play for Germany, his club mate Takumo Asano is a member of Japan’s 18-man squad, with Heung-Min Son of Tottenham being one of South Korea’s overage players.
In terms of that each country has been able to call upon three players born before 1993, with one of those in Denmark’s squad being Brentford striker Lasse Vibe.
Two other players from English Football League clubs are also heading to play in Rio, as Birmingham striker Nicolai Brock-Marsden joins Vibe in Denmark’s party, whilst Tim Erlandson has been named as one of Sweden’s two goalkeepers.
As such each of the aforementioned players are to miss the start of the English Football season but will potentially be afforded the honour of playing for their respective countries at the Olympics, which represents a wonderful opportunity for any professional footballer.
One player who will no longer receive that opportunity is West Ham striker Manuel Lanzini, since despite being named in Argentina’s squad, he has now been ruled out of the tournament due to injury.