Saturday, December 2, 2023

Sam Ward: Great Britain hockey has new lease of life under Danny Kerry

Sam Ward says new coach Danny Kerry has added a “new spark” to the team as England aim towards a first World Cup title.

Great Britain came away from the Toshiba International against Belgium as 2-1 winners last week, a mini series (1-1) which will go a long way to determining Kerry’s England World Cup squad.

“He’s a breath of fresh air and I’m really looking forward to the future with him,” Ward said of Kerry’s swap from the women to the men last month.

“He has brought a new spark to the team while the big thing for us is that I would describe us in the last few years as being so close to the top nations.

“To go and beat them [Belgium] in capped games like that, that’s what we live for and that’s what we need to do.

“That grows our confidence massively going into a World Cup.”

England will next play a Four Nations tournament with the Netherlands, Spain and Ireland to further prepare themselves for their trip to India next month.

Ward notched his 50th international goal and will accrue 100 caps in his next match, meaning that he is virutally averaging a goal every other game for England and GB.

Yet it is the build-up work of his team-mates – notably in the Belgium series – which Ward believes will be a major contribution down the line.

“The boys were fantastic personally I was a bit average. I wasn’t very pleased with my own performance,” he admitted

“Aldo [Alan Forsyth] was fantastic, two assists and it’s great to play up front with him for GB.”

Ward’s series contribution came off the back of his debut for Old Georgians in the Conference East last weekend.

And the striker said that a step down from the Men’s Premier Division, where he scored four goals on debut, will not hamper his form at international level.

He added: “It’s brilliant to play somewhere like Old Georgians. It’s a different environment and a different style of hockey. It grows the overall game of hockey and that’s what it’s all about.”

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