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England hockey great Barry Middleton reaches 400 international caps

Art attack - England's Barry Middleton speeds towards 308 caps (c) Ady KerryBy Rod Gilmour

World hockey chiefs will break protocol today when England midfielder Barry Middleton is honoured before recording his 400th international cap.

Middleton, 33, will reach the combined mark when England play Australia this afternoon in the World League Finals in India.

The International Hockey Federation initially had no plans to celebrate the milestone, as the world governing body recognises England and Great Britain caps separately.

“This is a pretty unique situation as the achievement is so significant,” said an FIH spokesperson.

Teun de Nooijer, who holds the world record of 453 caps for Holland, said that Middleton‘s mark was “an unbelievable achievement”.

“To play so many times for your country in an ever-developing game is incredible,” he told The Hockey Paper. “You have to be so fit and give so much to your sport these days.”

England head into the Australia pool clash having beaten hosts India 3-2 after a late Sam Ward winner on Saturday.

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