[img_assist|nid=7798|title=Taxi|desc=England Hockey players George Pinner (l), Simon Mantell (c) and Ashley Jackson (r) in a NOW: Pensions taxi – Getty Images|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=147]LONDON, April 8 – England Hockey have announced a new sponsor, a new GB men’s centralised programme and a new squad to set out on the road to Rio 2016.
Skipper Barry Middleton, Richard Smith, Nick Catlin, Ashley Jackson, Rob Moore, Dan Fox, Iain Lewers, Harry Martin and George Pinner (reserve keeper in London) are retained from the Olympic line-up.
Alongside the 2012 Olympians are the experienced internationals Simon Mantell, Adam Dixon, Alastair Brogdon and Mark Gleghorne.
Around half the squad is made up of relatively new faces to the senior international scene. Following impressive debuts in the Champions Trophy in December several players have been recalled to the squad, including Dan Shingles, Henry Weir, Ben Arnold and Ollie Willars.
The four-year deal with NOW: Pensions is the biggest ever sponsorship investment in men’s hockey in England.
NOW: Pensions will also be the title sponsor of the national league, including the men’s hockey league finals this weekend.
Morten Nilsson, chief executive of NOW: Pensions said: “We are delighted to announce our support for England Hockey from the grassroots to the elite squad. We are here in the UK for the long term and want to see the sport grow hand in hand with our business.”
England Hockey performance director Danny Kerry said: “Over the next four years the men’s programme will be centralised to allow athletes access to more frequent quality training, which we feel is essential to ensure England and Great Britain continue to advance on a world level.
“The centralised programme will allow this group of athletes to prioritise their desire to be podium athletes in the future, whilst also allowing for the appropriate balance of rest and recovery alongside career and education opportunities.”
Speaking about the selected squad, England and Great Britain men’s coach, Bobby Crutchley said: “I am very excited about working with this new group of athletes and it’s fantastic to have the support of NOW: Pensions. There have been a number of changes made since last summer and we know as a squad there is a lot of hard work ahead. This Summer will see a home nation focus as we prepare for the FIH World League in Malaysia and then the European Championships in Belgium.”
Full GB training squad: