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Kim Little realises her big ambition to compete at the Olympics

The 21-year-old Scotland star has been selected for Team GB at the Olympics.

Scotland and Arsenal star Kim Little has the world at her feet.
© SNS Group

Kim Little, one of Scotland's brightest footballing talents, has been selected to represent Great Britain at the Olympic Games.

Despite opposition from the SFA to the prospect of Scottish players performing for a British team, Little, who turns 22 next week, always made it clear that she wanted to participate in the Games.

The Arsenal midfielder has been joined by her compatriot, Ifeoma Dieke, who turns out for Swedish side Vittsjo, in the 18-strong squad which is otherwise dominated by English players, although Glasgow City's Joanne Ross is among four other women on standby.

Yet it is the presence of Little in the squad which will generate most debate. This is the girl who once starred for her school side, the "Mintlaw Miracles"; who took on the boys at a mini-football tournament in Aberdeen and ran rings around them; and who was performing brilliantly for Scotland after being called by to the national team at the age of just 17.

Little started her career with Buchan Girls FC, prior to moving to Hibs, but departed her homeland to join Arsenal in March, 2008, and scored her maiden goal for the club a month later, during a 4-1 victory over Chelsea, in front of 5000 fans at The Emirates. The then-Gunners manager, Vic Akers, remarked: "Make a note of this kid, she's going to be big."

It was a prescient statement and, in the ensuing years, Little has developed into one of women's football's leading luminaries. At last year's FA Cup final, she was named Player of the Match and scored the opening goal in her side's 2-0 success over Bristol Academy. After the contest, her manager, Laura Harvey, described the Scot as "world class".

The statistics back up that assertion. At just 21, Little has already amassed 70 caps and scored 23 goals, including a hat-trick against Israel during an 8-1 win at Tynecastle earlier this month, And, while the SFA will probably be irritated by her single-mindedness and determination to compete at the Olympics, these are the very qualities which have steered her towards the highest echelons of the sport in Britain.

The British team open their campaign against New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on July 25 and their coach, Hope Powell, is likely to thrust Little into the spotlight, where she has constantly proved she can dazzle. And she will be joined by her Arsenal colleagues, Ellen White, Rachel Yankey and Stephanie Houghton, all of whom featured prominently in the team which won the inaugural FA Women's Superleague in 2011.

"We all share the excitement in being part of the legacy of London 2012 and the strength of the Team GB selection owes a great deal to the work Hope [Powell] has done for women's football and she will be an inspirational figure to have on the touchline," said the British Chef de Mission, andy Hunt.

"The whole country will be behind the team when they kick off against New Zealand and, hopefully, they can set the tone by getting off to a winning start."

GB SQUAD: E Aluko, A Asante, K Bardsley, S Bradley, R Brown, K Carney, I DIEKE, S Houghton, K LITTLE, C Rafferty, A Scott, J Scott, K Smith, C Stoney, F Williams, R Williams, E White, R Yankey.

Stand-by: J Clarke, E Higgins, J ROSS, D Susi.

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