[img_assist|nid=1977|title=Matt Daly (left) gets recall to the GB squad after injury – image Andy Smith|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=141]
The Great Britain men’s hockey squad has been announced ahead of the forthcoming Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia. The seven team invitational tournament will be Great Britain’s last competition ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Jason Lee’s squad contains two changes to the 18 man group that competed at the Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament – the Olympic Test Event – at the beginning of the month. Captain Barry Middleton is restored alongside Surbiton’s Beijing Olympian Matt Daly, who returns to competitive action after a six month absence through injury.
Old Loughtonians’ Harry Martin and Loughborough Students’ Richard Smith have both been included. The pair have been passed fit after undergoing treatment for facial injuries sustained during the Olympic Test Event.
Daly hasn’t played competitive international hockey since late 2011. The 28 year old played for England at the EuroHockey Nations Championships in Monchengladbach in August, where he was part of the team that won the bronze medal, scoring against Ireland and the Netherlands. He subsequently played in a series of practice matches before sustaining a knee injury prior to the Champions Trophy. The Surbiton forward has an excellent goal scoring record that has seen him find the net 57 times in 142 international appearances.
Speaking about Daly’s selection, Head Coach Jason Lee said, “It is great that Matt is back playing and potentially available for Olympic selection. Someone with his goal scoring ability and history in international hockey should be very competitive if fit and able to come into form over the next couple of months. I’m sure he will be rusty to start with as he has only been back working with a stick and ball for a week after many months out.”
Speaking about the tournament and how it fits into Great Britain’s Olympic preparations Lee continued, “The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is an excellent opportunity to practice the type of tournament hockey we will experience at the Olympics and we will be approaching it with the intention of winning it – the same as our approach for the Olympics. The tournament has seven high quality teams, six of which will be at the Olympics, and it includes a number of teams that we rarely get to play.
“The climate of Malaysia will be testing for our athletes, although we will complete a short acclimation programme before we leave, which will hopefully make it easier for the players to cope in the first few games.
“It is likely that the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will be used to complete the Olympic selection process, although our focus whilst there will be entirely on the team’s performance and the attempt to win the tournament.”
The tournament will be played on a blue surface similar to that installed at the Riverbank Arena on London’s Olympic Park. Great Britain’s men are the top ranked side for the 11 day invitational tournament that features New Zealand, Korea, India, Pakistan, Argentina and the hosts Malaysia. New Zealand’s Black Sticks are the Commonwealth Games bronze medallists while Argentina’s men won the 2011 Pan American Games hockey tournament in October 2011. Three of the competing teams, Pakistan, Malaysia and India, filled the three medal spots at the 2010 Asian Games and most recently India won the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Delhi in February. Great Britain twice beat India at the Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament. At the Champions Trophy in December 2011, Great Britain beat Pakistan 2-1 and Korea 4-3.
Great Britain won the bronze medal at the 2011 tournament, finishing third behind winners Australia and runners-up Pakistan. GB beat New Zealand 4-1 in the bronze medal playoff.
GREAT BRITAIN MEN’S SQUAD FOR SULTAN AZLAN SHAH CUP
Name (Club) Position [Home Nation] Great Britain Caps/Great Britain Goals – Home Nation Caps/Home Nation Goals – Age
Richard Alexander (Surbiton) Midfielder/Defender [England] 52/6 – 130/13 – 30
Nick Catlin (Reading) Midfielder/Forward [England] 13/3 – 45/3 – 23
Jonty Clarke (Reading) Forward [England] 48/12 – 138/28 – 31
Matt Daly (Surbiton) Forward [England] 43/12 – 95/44 – 28
Adam Dixon (Beeston) Defender/Midfielder [England] 23/0 – 58/2 – 25
James Fair (Cannock) Goalkeeper [England] 31/0 – 87/0 – 31
Dan Fox (Hampstead & Westminster) Defender [England] 11/0 – 23/0 – 29
Ben Hawes (Wimbledon) Defender/Midfielder [England] 82/19 – 125/25 – 31
Ashley Jackson (East Grinstead) Midfielder [England] 55/20 – 71/49 – 24
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead) Midfielder [England] 62/5 – 145/7 – 29
Iain Lewers (East Grinstead) Defender [England] 21/0 – 15/1 – 28
Iain Mackay (Reading) Midfielder [England] 24/1 – 63/11 – 27
Harry Martin (Old Loughtonians) Midfielder [England] 19/2 – 8/0 – 19
Barry Middleton (East Grinstead) Midfielder/Forward [England] 89/30 – 159/43 – 28
Rob Moore (Surbiton) Midfielder/Forward [England] 75/20 – 148/19 – 30
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students) Defender [England] 13/4 – 64/7 – 24
James Tindall (Surbiton) Forward [England] 59/21 – 126/56 – 29
Ali Wilson (Beeston) Defender [England] 50/0 – 103/6 – 28
GREAT BRITAIN MEN’S FIXTURES, SULTAN AZLAN SHAH CUP
Friday 25 May – 10:05 BST – Great Britain v Malaysia
Sunday 27 May – 12:05 BST – Great Britain v India
Monday 28 May – 10:05 BST – Great Britain v Argentina
Wednesday 30 May – 10:05 BST – Great Britain v New Zealand
Thursday 31 May – 08:05 BST – Great Britain v Korea
Saturday 2 June – 10:05 BST – Great Britain v Pakistan
Sunday 3 June – tbc – classification matches