East Grinstead’s Mark Pearn makes a surprise comeback to the England hockey squad for next week’s Four Nations tournament in Holland.
Despite retiring from international hockey in 2005, the 34-year-old still has two Olympic Games, two World Cups, two European Championships, two Commonwealth Games and four Champions Trophy tournaments under his belt.
A less dramatic comeback is the return of Wimbledon defender Ben Hawes who will play his first international tournament since picking up an ankle injury in the Champions Trophy last August.
There is still no return for the injured East Grinstead star Ashley Jackson.
The squad also has an ‘international’ feel with the inclusion of former Irish international Iain Lewers and former South African international Ken Forbes.
Surbiton’s Forbes and Loughborough Students’ Lewers, who made his Great Britain debut in March at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia, make the England squad for the first time. Barry Middleton returns from Germany, where plays his club hockey, to captain the side.
England will take on reigning Olympic Champions Germany, a resurgent Pakistan side and the Netherlands in the four team competition that runs from Tuesday 28 June until Saturday 2 July alongside the women’s Rabo Champions Trophy.
Ahead of the trip, coach Jason Lee explained the important of the event in the context of a busy summer for England. “The tournament gives us a good opportunity to get high calibre match practice in advance of attempting to retain our European title,” he said. “We are still waiting the return from injury and exams of our full group but this has opened up the opportunity to try new players and combinations in this tournament.”
Mark Pearn said: “Things have moved on a bit since I was last involved. There’s a bigger squad of players and thanks to National Lottery funding we’re better supported. It’s easy to just keep doing the same thing in life but I like a challenge and I’m under no illusions as to how hard it’s going to be to compete for my place.”
Pearn has netted 48 times in 148 appearances for England and a further 21 times in 76 games for Great Britain.
Surbiton’s Forbes earned his place in England’s squad for the Rabo Four Nations Cup on the back of his performances against Scotland, Spain and Germany in an uncapped tournament in Largs recently. Having competed in the EHL Premier Division and Great Britain Super League this season, the former South Africa international, who holds dual nationality, will make his full England debut in Amsterdam.
The Rabo Four Nations Cup will see Richard Mantell reach a century of England appearances; the Reading defender is currently one short on 99. And there could be a milestone for Mantell’s clubmate Iain Mackay, who is three appearances short of 50 for England.
Before England get their Four Nations Cup campaign underway, their female counterparts are in action at the Rabo Champions Trophy. Placed in Pool A for the opening round of matches, England’s women begin their campaign on Saturday against world champions Argentina before facing Korea and China.
The men’s Rabo Four Nations Cup begins on Tuesday 28 June and culminates on Saturday 2 July
Rabo Four Nations Cup Fixtures
Local Time- BST- Fixture
Tuesday 28 June 2011
19:30 – 18:30 – Netherlands v Pakistan
21:00 – 20:00 – Germany v England
Wednesday 29 June 2011
17:30 – 16:30 – England v Pakistan
20:00 – 19:00 – Netherlands v Germany
Friday 1 July 2011
17:00 – 16:00 – Germany v Pakistan
19:30 – 18:30 – England v Netherlands
Saturday 2 July 2011
15:00 – 14:00 – Third v Fourth
17:30 – 16:30 – First v Second
England Hockey Men’s Squad for Rabo Four Nations Cup, 28 June – 2 July 2011
Name (Club) [Position] Eng Caps/Eng Goals GB Caps/GB Goals – Age
Richard Alexander (Surbiton) [Def/Mid/Fwd] 114/10 46/5 – 29
Alastair Brogdon (Bowdon) [Fwd] 39/3 4/0 – 23
Nick Brothers (Reading) [GK] 24/0 7/0 – 27
Nick Catlin (Loughborough Students) [Fwd] 31/3 7/1 – 22
Jonty Clarke (Reading) [Fwd] 124/24 40/11 – 30
James Fair (Cannock) [GK] 75/0 19/0 – 30
Ken Forbes (Surbiton) [Def] 0/0 0/0 – 33
Ben Hawes (Wimbledon) [Def] 118/24 69/19 – 30
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead) [Mid] 131/7 49/4 – 28
Iain Lewers (Loughborough Students) [Def] 0/0 7/0 – 27
Iain Mackay (Reading) [Mid] 47/8 12/1 – 26
Richard Mantell (Reading) [Def] 99/46 41/19 – 29
Simon Mantell (Reading) [Fwd] 75/35 41/6 – 27
Barry Middleton (c) (Der Club an der Alster) [Mid/Fwd] 143/34 80/28 – 27
Rob Moore (Wimbledon) [Mid/Fwd] 134/17 63/17 – 30
Mark Pearn (East Grinstead) [Fwd] 146/48 76/21 – 34
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students) [Def] 50/5 7/3 – 23
Alastair Wilson (Beeston) [Def] 89/6 42/0 – 27