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Exclusive: Ashley Jackson trains with Great Britain hockey

Ashley Jackson last played at the Rio 2016 Olympics PIC: WORLDSPORTPICS

By Rod Gilmour

The ‘open door’ policy left ajar for Ashley Jackson‘s potential return to international has come to fruition this week, with the eye-opening news that one of Great Britain and England’s most talismanic players is training with Danny Kerry’s squad.

The Hockey Paper can reveal that Jackson, 31, has been invited to spend time with the current GB programme squad at Bisham Abbey alongside Rio team-mate Nick Catlin and Jack Turner.

Jackson has been in the international wilderness since the Rio 2016 Olympics where GB finished ninth.

He took up ice hockey stints in the English league and told this paper that he was taking an international break to “rejuvenate myself”.

Jackson is currently playing domestic hockey with HGC in the Netherlands and is sitting second in the goalscoring table, with 15 goals behind Jeroen Hertzberger (19). He also played for newly-promoted Old Georgians this season.

He is clearly enjoying his hockey once again and wrote as much in a recent social media post.

However Jackson hasn’t been out of the thoughts of GB officials since his international hiatus.

Kerry has previously stated that Jackson had spoken to the GB men’s coach this season about a potential return.

Catlin, currently playing in Belgium, has also been out of the GB set up since Rio and the 30-year-old is still seen as a world-class player in his own right.

Turner, a 22-year-old product of Durham University, was called up to former coach Bobby Crutchley’s squad for his first taste of senior hockey on England’s 2017 tour to South Africa and has since played the Sultan of Johor Cup.

If Jackson was to return, he would have to end his lucrative contract with Dutch side HGC early. The Bisham Abbey policy dictates that players on the GB programme must be based in the UK.

In a recent Hockey Paper poll, 67 per cent of readers thought they would never see Jackson play in GB colours again. That remains to be seen.

After nearly two years away, we are back as a regular print product for readers – and we need your help to keep growing.

Our concept was first conceived thanks to several meetings and plenty of laughs with respected journalist Graham Wilson, who sadly passed away before the first issue was published.

And it is now a thrill to return subscription-only as we chart GB’s Olympic defence ahead of Tokyo 2020 next year.

The relaunch is again in Graham’s memory. We hope you can join us on the journey.

 

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