Gary Neville believes Ryan Giggs has been given a great opportunity to be successful at a major tournament when he captains Team GB at the Olympics.
The 38-year-old Welshman has won more Premier League medals than any other player, but has never played at a European Championship or a World Cup as his national team has not qualified.
Team GB boss Stuart Pearce has now called upon him to lead a young squad at the Olympics and Neville, who played with Giggs for more than a decade at Manchester United, reckons it will be a big event for his former team-mate.
He told Sky Sports News: "I've got a close friend in there in Ryan Giggs and it's an incredible moment and opportunity for him to be able to be part of this tournament.
"He obviously hasn't had the good fortune to have been part of tournaments with Wales, but at the age of 38 he will captain the Great Britain Olympics team.
"We haven't had an Olympics football team for 52 years. Sir Matt Busby was the manager in 1948 of the GB Olympic team and Ryan Giggs is doing it now.
"I hope it's something that can continue beyond this tournament and I hope the lads do really well."
Giggs was chosen as one of three over-age players in Pearce's squad alongside Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards and that meant that David Beckham - who had been heavily touted for a slot - was excluded.
And Neville says his former United and England colleague will take the decision with dignity because he understands the pressures of top-level sport.
"I feel sorry for David personally that he's not part of the tournament," he added.
"He wanted to be part of the tournament and I think he's told everybody of his disappointment, but he's also a professional and has taken it with great dignity, as he always would. That's what you have to do in life.
"Managers have to pick football teams and I'm sure there'll be people in the rowing, swimming, cycling and athletics teams who haven't been picked as well by the selectors or haven't made it through qualification.
"That's just life. It's sport at the highest level and David knows as much as anybody he'll just have to get on with it, move forward and look to do other things."
Half a million Olympic football tickets were withdrawn from sale this week as the tournament struggled to capture the nation's imagination.
Sky Sports expert Neville compared the negative headlines to those surrounding safety fears ahead of Euro 2012 and believes there will be a surge of support once the action gets under way.
"We seem to be shooting ourselves in the foot generally with regards to this tournament. I've never seen so much negativity," he said.
"We did the same with Poland and the Ukraine and the way we talked about those countries and we're doing the same to ourselves.
"I don't quite get why we're like that. We always pick up on the negative stories and it's the same with the Olympic football tournament.
"I can guarantee you there will be a euphoria and wave of support that will gather behind the Great Britain team and the tournament once it begins.
"It's always the same. There's not a lot to write about before the tournament, so it's generally a lot of negativity. I don't personally get it.
"We should be showcasing our country and promoting it around the world in its best light and not talking negatively all the time."