Bertrand: I'm delighted to be involved
© AFP

Ryan Bertrand has claimed he would have been "crazy" to turn down the chance of appearing at the Olympics. The Southwark-born defender was in the Olympic stadium last night as part of the parade of the teams as Danny Boyle's magnificent opening ceremony ushered in London 2012.

It was a significant part of a unique experience Bertrand is determined to enjoy. And one of the reasons why the 23-year-old had no doubts over accepting Stuart Pearce's call, even though it meant missing Chelsea's pre-season campaign.

"This was a massive opportunity," he said. "It would have been crazy for anyone to turn down the chance of being involved in the Olympics with Great Britain. Chelsea have shown a bit consistency by keeping (Roberto) Di Matteo so it is not back to square one in that sense, so I am delighted to be involved."

It represents a continuation of an amazing few months for Bertrand, the highlight of which so far has been his appearance in Chelsea's match-winning UEFA Champions League final line-up. "I didn't expect to be here six months ago," he said.

This was a massive opportunity. It would have been crazy for anyone to turn down the chance of being involved in the Olympics with Great Britain.
Ryan Bertrand, Great Britain full-back

But I was determined and kept working hard. Even when I was in and out of the squad, my attitude in training never dropped. And I was fully confident that somewhere, at some stage, I would get my break. Thankfully Di Matteo put his faith in me."

The intended presence of England coach Roy Hodgson at tomorrow's Group A encounter with United Arab Emirates at Wembley provides further justification for Bertrand's decision. Uppermost in Bertrand's mind will be ensuring GB collect the three points required to put their bid to reach the quarter-finals back on track.

However, Hodgson has already stated an intention to use next month's friendly with Italy to experiment and with another non-qualifier against Sweden in November, Bertrand is not lacking an incentive. "My ambition for this season is to try and get a few games for Chelsea.

"But GB is another step in my international career and eventually, I hope to get an opportunity with England, so having Roy Hodgson at the game cannot be a bad thing."