By Rod Gilmour
Maddie Hinch, widely considered the world’s best goalkeeper, has ‘pressed pause’ on her international career.
The England women’s No 1 announced on Monday that she will be taking a break from the game, allowing the Dutch-based stopper to focus on her club commitments with Stitchtsche HC.
The 29-year-old’s decision will be a blow for Great Britain’s hopes in the Hockey Pro League, which launches in January and acts as an qualification route to their Olympic defence at Tokyo 2020.
However, the Pro League will also see the top nations travel extensively from January and June as world hockey chiefs look to strengthen the international game and Hinch’s decision may prove to be a wise one.
Hinch, 30 next month, has played 15 successive tournaments since 2012 and has accumulated 133 caps for England and Great Britain in that time.
She said: “After a very intensive few years, I feel the need to press the pause button on playing international hockey and take a break.
“I plan to take this time to recharge both physically and mentally, work on my game technically with Stitchtsche and return in the best possible position for my team-mates, the programme and my country.”
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She admitted that it had been “such a whirlwind since gold in Rio” but said that she would return to fight for a squad berth at the Tokyo Games.
Hinch’s perennial No 2, Amy Tennant, will now be a leading candidate to take over goalkeeping duties at the upcoming Champions Trophy in China and Great Britain’s matches in the Hockey Pro League.