Former British champion John Cullen says Aaron Cook "must go" to the Olympics after it was reported that he has been left out of the home nation's taekwondo squad.
Cullen labelled Cook taekwondo's own Lionel Messi, referring to the star Barcelona footballer, and said questions must be asked of those in charge of selection if he is omitted.
Team GB Taekwondo have delayed the announcement of their Olympic squad, which was set for Friday, amid reports Lutalo Muhammad has been selected ahead of European champion Cook in the under-80kg weight bracket and that Cook was set to appeal.
Cook, 21, has trained separately from the Team GB set-up since a disappointing first-round exit at last year's World Championships in Korea.
But Cullen believes omitting him from the squad on that basis would be the wrong decision, and told BBC Sport: "He has to go. If it was any other country in the world, he would be picked. He is the world number one and has been the poster boy for our sport.
"It's like Barcelona not picking Messi. In fact, he is the Lionel Messi of our sport and must go. If they have made this decision and it's not a sporting decision, or justifiable decision, then they have to be held to account."
He added: "For them not to select him would be either arrogance or incompetence."
Cullen also defended Cook's decision to train apart from the national academy, while praising the work done by the governing body which brought four medals in Korea including gold for Sarah Stevenson.
"With Sarah Stevenson, Jade Jones, Martin Stamper and Michael Harvey all winning major world medals, to say the academy doesn't work would be spurious because it clearly does," he said.
"But it should be big enough and strong enough to accept that it doesn't work for everybody.
"Look at the Brownlee brothers (triathletes Alistair and Jonny), or Mo Farah, or any of these elite athletes who all do their own thing. Taekwondo is an individual sport and Aaron is better working with his own coach."
Liverpudlian Stamper is expected to get the nomination for the under-68kgs category and Wales teenager Jones at under-57kgs.
Stevenson, a bronze medallist at the 2008 Games in Beijing, is recovering from a knee operation and, should she not recover in time, understudy Bianca Walkden would step down into the under-67kgs.
Neither Team GB Taekwondo nor the British Olympic Association have yet made any official comment, with no new date for the squad announcement confirmed.