David Beckham has played a key role in backing the London 2012 Games, but it does not mean that Stuart Pearce has to pick him for the Olympic football team, Lord Coe said on Thursday.

The LA Galaxy player and former England skipper has used his high international profile, both on and off the pitch, to help London 2012.

He takes on another starring role when he helps to collect the Olympic Flame at the official handover in Athens and take it back Britain on a golden plane for the 70-day torch relay leading up to the start of the 2012 Olympics.

Lord Coe, the London 2012 chairman and a two-time Olympic 1500m champion, said: "We have put absolutely no pressure on Stuart Pearce at all. He has to pick the team that he thinks can lift that trophy. I would not expect any coach to be operating on any other basis, whether it is wrestling or football.

"The coach has to be in pole position. You can never put any pressure on coaches to choose people for any reason other than skill and merit."

"It is entirely up to Stuart. I think that having David around the Olympic programme is a fantastic thing but it is not for anybody other than Stuart to decide whether he brings value-added to the team."

Having Beckham's high-profile involvement in the Olympics is not making it harder for Pearce to potentially exclude him if he saw fit.

"Absolutely not," Lord Coe, said pointing to other high profile sport stars who have backed London 2012.

"Any more than we would expect a recall for (Sir) Steve Redgrave (five-time Olympic rowing champion) or Daley Thompson (two-time Olympic decathlon champion).

"It would be ridiculous not to use somebody who has been intimately involved with the whole process and actually rings up on a regular basis to ask if there is anything else that he needs to know or can do to help."

olympic torch

Olympics minister Hugh Robertson said: "Elite sport at its very best. It is really technical, tough, competitive hard-nosed stuff and that is going on across 26 Olympic sports at the moment.

"You can not have in that highly-competitive department a sentimental moment and pick somebody because it would be nice for the front of the newspapers - that is not the way this process works.

"It would be lovely, yes, to see Beckham at the Olympics but he has to be there on the merits of his own performance and nothing else."

Lord Coe also pointed out that Beckham's usefulness is not just in his international glamour and appeal but also in being a Leytonstone-born sportsman who could stress the value bringing the Games to his old East End stomping ground.

In Singapore 2005, during London 2012's final push during the bid to stage the Games, Beckham said he was dreaming of the day the Olympics would be held in his old east London "manor".

Lord Coe said: "David has been with us from the very beginning. He was there when the evaluation team came through London. He has hosted people on the Olympic Park for us.

"Even before Singapore he was travelling independently for us and helping us get some of the core messages across.

He has spent time with our teams both through the bid and subsequently. He was, of course, in Singapore and just a few weeks ago in Los Angeles he was helping me with my own engagement programme.

"It is absolutely right that he should be with us."

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  • Former England football captain David Beckham, right, and London Mayor Boris Johnson attend a handover for the Olympic flame at Panathenaean stadium in Athens.

  • Former England football captain David Beckham center and London Mayor Boris Johnson, right, enter the Panathenaean stadium in Athens.

  • Britain's Princess Anne, right, takes the torch with the Olympic flame from President of the Greek Olympic Committee Spyros Kapralos during a ceremony at Panathinean stadium in Athens.

  • An unidentified torchbearer, left, passes the flame to Rena Sotiriadou during the Olympic flame relay for the 2012 London Olympics, in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens.

  • Actress Ino Menegaki, dressed as a high priestess, lights the torch at a ceremony in Panathinean stadium in Athens.

  • A torchbearer runs with the Olympic flame during a ceremony at Panathenaean stadium in Athens.

  • Handout photo issued by LOCOG of Lord Coe (centre) during a visit to the Leontios School in Athens, Greece, which has a link with Clapham Girls Academy in London, who are part of the London 2012 Get Set Network.

  • The last torchbearers, olympic gold meda

    The last torchbearers, olympic gold medalists , Greek weightlifting athlete Pyrros Dimas (R) and Chinese gymnastics athlete, Liu Ning hold the torch with the olympic flame during the handover ceremony of the Olympic flame for the 2012 London Olympics at the Panathenaic stadium in Athens on May 17, 2012. The Olympic torch handover ceremony was held at the Panathenaic Stadium with Greece giving the flame to British officials ahead of the London 2012 Games. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • The last torch bearers, Olympic gold med

    The last torch bearers, Olympic gold medalists, Greek weightlifting athlete Pyrros Dimas and Chinese gymnastics athlete, Liu Ning (L) arrive with the Olympic flame to the stadium during the handover ceremony of the Olympic flame for the 2012 London Olympics at the Panathenaic stadium in Athens on May 17, 2012. AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Actress Ino Menegaki at the role of the

    Actress Ino Menegaki at the role of the high priestess holds the torch with the flame during the handover ceremony of the Olympic flame for the 2012 London Olympics at the Panathenaic stadium in Athens on May 17, 2012. AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/GettyImages)

  • President of the Greek olympic Committee

    President of the Greek olympic Committee, Spyros Kapralos escorts the Princess Anne of Britain who holds the Olympic Flame, during the handover ceremony of the Olympic flame for the 2012 London Olympics at the Panathenaic stadium in Athens on May 17, 2012. AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/GettyImages)

  • David Beckham, soccer

  • Children carry the Greek and British flags during a handover ceremony of the Olympic Flame at Panathenaean stadium in Athens, Thursday, May 17, 2012. The torch begins its 70-day journey to arrive at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, from the Greek capital, to cover about 8,000-mile (12,875-kilometer) on its progress over many parts of England to start the games. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

  • Actresses dressed as ancient Greek priestesses perform a ritual dance during a handover ceremony for the Olympic flame at Panathenaean stadium in Athens, Thursday, May 17, 2012. The torch begins its 70-day journey to arrive at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, from the Greek capital, to cover about 8,000-mile (12,875-kilometer) on its progress over many parts of England to start the games. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • Pigeons released as a symbol of peace, fly over the Olympic Flame, during a handover ceremony for the Olympic flame at Panathenaean stadium in Athens, Thursday, May 17, 2012. The torch begins its 70-day journey to arrive at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, from the Greek capital, to cover about 8,000-mile (12,875-kilometer) on its progress over many parts of England to start the games. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • David Beckham

    Former England football captain David Beckham waves to spectators on Thursday, May 17, 2012, in the Panathenaean stadium in Athens, at a handover for the Olympic flame that will burn at the 2012 Summer Games in London. The torch begins its 70-day journey to arrive at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, from the Greek capital, to cover about 8,000-mile (12,875-kilometer) on its progress over many parts of England to start the games. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

  • David Beckham, Boris Johnson

    Former England football captain David Beckham center and London Mayor Boris Johnson, right, enter the Panathenaean stadium in Athens, on Thursday, May 17, 2012, at a handover for the Olympic flame that will burn at the 2012 Summer Games in London. The torch begins its 70-day journey to arrive at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, from the Greek capital, to cover about 8,000-mile (12,875-kilometer) on its progress over many parts of England to start the games. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)