Bale out of Olympics


Soccer:Tottenham winger Gareth Bale has suffered an injury that will rule him out of Great Britain’s Olympic football squad. Bale was widely anticipated to be included in manager Stuart Pearce’s GB team for the Olympic tournament starting at the end of next month.

But it is understood the 22-year-old Wales international has suffered a recurrence of an old back and hip injury after pulling up while running. Bale is understood to be reluctant to risk aggravating the problem further, with Tottenham’s Barclays Premier League opener at Newcastle just seven weeks away.

The player, who earlier this week pledged his future to Spurs by signing a new four-year contract to 2016, is believed to have already informed Pearce of his decision to make himself unavailable for selection after taking medical advice. Bale had been held up as a likely star turn for Team GB, and his absence will come as a further blow to fans already shocked by Pearce’s controversial decision to omit former England captain David Beckham from his squad.

Elsewhere, Reading haveconfirmed they have agreed personal terms with Russia striker Pavel Pogrebnyak and are awaiting a work permit application to finalise the transfer.

Pogrebnyak is out of contract this summer and it has been reported the Premier League new boys have offered him a four-year deal worth around £65,000 a week.

The 28-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at Fulham from German side Stuttgart, netting six goals in 12 appearances, but rejected the offer of a permanent deal with the Cottagers. Confirmation of the deal comes a day after Reading secured the signing of midfielder Danny Guthrie on a three-year contract. The 25-year-old former Newcastle player completed his medical yesterday and will formally complete the move tomorrow.

And Norwich haveannounced the signing of Scotland defender Steven Whittaker on a four-year deal, subject to international clearance. The 28-year-old was a free agent having rejected the transfer of his contract to the newco Rangers and he become new manager Chris Hughton’s first signing.

Whittaker enjoyed a successful five years at Ibrox following a £2million move from Hibernian, winning Scottish Premier League titles, Scottish Cups and three Scottish League Cups. Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty has also left, joining Swiss club Sion on a three-year deal.

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