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Dream Team: Richard Smith

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The 29-year-old Hampstead & Westminster and Great Britain defender selects a talent-packed XI he’d relish watching play together…

Goalkeeper

James Fair – England & GB (European Championships 2009, Olympics 2012)

James was a great guy to have around the team on a personal level and an extremely talented and truly cat-like goalkeeper. He made several unforgettable performances in the semi-final and final of European Championships in 2009.

Right-back

Ben Hawes – England & GB (European Championships 2009, Olympics 2012)

Another member of that European Championships-winning side of 2009 and a three-time Olympian. Ben was a very talented and composed right-half with a right-to-left drag that could beat anyone.

Centre-backs

Rick Mantell – England & GB (European Championships 2009)

Rick has a unique ability to pick people out on a sixpence and he played some of the best passes in the final of the 2009 European Championships I’ve ever seen.

Jason Collins – Guildford (2004-2005)

I joined Guildford when I was 17 and at that point Jason was an established international. I was learning all the time and was in awe of his composure, ability to move under pressure and consistent hit. He taught me a lot.

Left-back

John Jackson – Loughborough (2006-2008)

Jonny is one of the most talented players I have played with, although while we were at Loughborough at times he could be a bit chaotic. But I think over the last few years he has been one of the top defenders and half-backs in the world.

Centre-half

Glenn Kirkham – England & GB (Olympics 2012)

The definition of Mr Reliable. You always knew exactly where Glenn would be and what you would get from him. He’s the centre-half everybody wants in their team.

Star-studded: Richard Smith's XI isn't short of talent

Star-studded: Richard Smith’s XI isn’t short of talent

Inside-left

Ashley Jackson – England & GB (Olympics 2012)

Ashley has always been the guy in training you have to up your game against, otherwise he can make you look very silly! Everyone knows his threat from penalty corners but he’s highly competitive and capable all over the pitch.

Inside-right

Simon Gougnard – Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles

A strong Belgium international, Simon’s got insane close control and the ability to glide past players with an effortless turn of pace – that’s probably due to his long legs rather than anything else!

Right-wing

Danny Hall – Guildford (2004-2006)

A true striker with the most accurate radar for the bottom corner I have seen. In my first season with Guildford he scored somewhere near to 30 goals from open play, with a good number of those from all parts of the edge of the circle. He’s lethal.

Centre-forward

Barry Middleton – England & GB (European Championships 2009, Olympics 2012)

Barry has got this obscene tactical knowledge and he really is a true athlete. He can turn you inside-out, and will usually control the game around him, regardless of who he is up against.

Left wing

Tom Boon – Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles

He is a guy who oozes talent and, after an Olympic silver medal,                I think he still will do a lot on the world stage, as he always seems to be scoring goals. He has a natural instinct and always seemed to score during my time in Belgium.

This article originally appeared in The Hockey Paper on Wednesday 16th November. Subscribe to THP here.

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