No regrets for Team GB footballer Jack Cork
JACK CORK insists his Olympic experience was worthwhile despite ending in penalty shootout heartbreak.
Team GB were defeated by South Korea at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday with the Southampton star an unused substitute.
The shock result cut short a campaign which had raised hopes of a medal after Stuart Pearce’s men emerged as unbeaten winners of Group A.
In a high-quality shootout, Daniel Sturridge was the only man on either side to be denied, seeing his effort saved by Lee Bum-Young.
Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng then capped an impressive display by netting the winning spot-kick to book a semi-final clash with favourites Brazil.
Cork admits he felt helpless watching from the bench as his team-mates endured 120 minutes of tension and frustration before crashing out.
But he is adamant he has no regrets about getting involved in the London 2012 football tournament this summer.
“I was honoured to be chosen for this squad, and I’ve enjoyed the whole experience,” Cork said.
“I've been so focused on this, and I wanted us to do really well.
“I’m gutted really. This was hard on all the lads.
“It's hard for me because I couldn't do anything about it, but it's harder for them.
“They were all really good penalties. We had some good penalties too, and I think Sturridge got unlucky with his.
“There's not much we could say to him. You can't really worry about penalties too much.”
Cork earned his inclusion in the Team GB squad after establishing himself as an ever-present in Saints’ Championship promotion charge last term.
London 2012 selection capped what has been a meteoric rise for the former Chelsea trainee, whose career at one stage looked in danger of stagnating.
Starved of opportunities at Stamford Bridge, Cork underwent a lengthy Football League apprenticeship in a bid to prove himself.
Loan spells at Bournemouth, Scunthorpe, Southampton and Coventry provided first-team experience but not top flight credibility.
It was at Burnley that Cork finally began to find his feet, and his displays led to a return to St Marys last summer.
Now the Saints are preparing for a first top-flight campaign since 2005, and Cork sees it as the ideal opportunity to move on from his Olympic heartache.
“Now we’re out I’m going to start thinking about next season in the Premier League,” he added.
“Hopefully I can get my mind set on that and make sure I'm ready for the new season.”
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