IT may seem a surprise to some that Marvin Sordell has been called up to represent Great Britain considering his lack of first-team football at the Reebok in recent times.
Banished to the bench for much of his short Wanderers career to date, the young striker seemingly had lost time to make up for as he headed into a new season in the Championship.
But while we haven’t had a chance to celebrate the fact, Owen Coyle did pay out just over £3million for an established England Under-21 international from Watford on January transfer-deadline day.
Sordell’s two goals in seven games has made him a regular starter for the Young Lions, and so it perhaps shouldn’t be such a shock that Stuart Pearce looked to him as a means to fire Team GB towards gold this summer.
It was a source of much frustration among Whites fans that they didn’t see enough of the 21-year-old when he arrived as a last-minute purchase from Vicarage Road, turning down late interest from West Ham and Cardiff City.
And though Coyle has sought to explain the rationale behind his limited opportunities, the Wanderers boss had already earmarked Sordell to make a big impact in the season ahead.
“I can’t begin to describe how unfortunate Marvin was,” he told The Bolton News in May. “When he came in he was cup-tied and then with everything that happened at White Hart Lane (the Fabrice Muamba incident), that put us behind with cup games again.
“I felt I couldn’t give him a run because he’d be coming back out of the team. It would have been too stop-start.
“When he came on I was pleased, he showed quality. And in the last couple of months I felt he was ready to go, but the skipper (Kevin Davies) had come into form and I had David Ngog and Ivan Klasnic all competing for the same place. But looking to next season, Marvin is already proven in the Championship and he’s played for England U21s – I’ve got no doubt there will be loads of goals in him.”
Pearce’s squad is an intriguing mix of senior stars who have been denied the chance to play at major tournaments so far, such as Wales’ Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy, and younger players who like Sordell, failed to nail down a starting place last term.
Of the outfield players, only Scott Sinclair, Neil Taylor, James Tomkins, Jack Cork and Steven Caulker were what could be considered first-team regulars.
Tom Cleverley and Aaron Ramsey missed out on their share of the action through injury for Wigan and Arsenal respectively, but the likes of Micah Richards, Danny Rose, Daniel Sturridge, Craig Dawson and Ryan Bertrand will all look at the Olympic experience as a springboard to greater things with their clubs.
Sordell too could benefit from taking the eye as he looks to forge ahead of Kevin Davies and David Ngog in Coyle’s thinking.
Pearce has also had to contend with individual withdrawals and clubs who refused point blank to release their players for a competition still treated with caution by much of the footballing fraternity. But perhaps he can harness enough hunger from the players who see this as their chance in the limelight to also change a few people’s minds.
Squad: Joe Allen (Swansea City), Craig Bellamy (Cardiff City), Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Jack Butland (Birmingham City), Steven Caulker (Tottenham), Tom Cleverley (Manchester Utd), Jack Cork (Southampton), Craig Dawson (West Bromwich), Ryan Giggs (Manchester Utd), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Scott Sinclair (Swansea City), Marvin Sordell (Wanderers), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea), Neil Taylor (Swansea City), James Tomkins (West Ham United).