Sunday, May 19, 2024

Great Britain hockey star Ashley Jackson called up by Danny Kerry

Ashley Jackson last played for GB at Rio 2016 PIC: WORLDSPORTPICS

Those fans heading to Lee Valley for Great Britain men’s crunch tie with the Netherlands on Friday night will be treated to the ‘undoubted skills and abilities’ of Ashley Jackson in an international shirt for the first time since 2016.

Jackson returned to the GB programme this month and coach Danny Kerry has picked the star man for the must-win FIH Pro League match against the Dutch.

Chris Grassick has been out injured with a rare hamstring injury after 18 months on the sidelines but his progress and perseverance to get back to full fitness has also been rewarded by Kerry.

Meanwhile Henry Weir, Mikey Hoare and the injured Sam Ward and Will Calnan all miss out from the 20 who faced Germany and Australia last weekend.

In one of several permutations, to qualify for the Pro League Grand Finals, GB will look to win their final two matches and hope Argentina lose one of their last three.

Kerry said: “I’m delighted for Chris, it’s been a long road back and it’s been good to see him looking sharp in training despite months of rehab.

“On a personal note it’s always good to support our athletes through these long phases and it’s a credit to Chris in terms of his perseverance in testing circumstances.

Kerry admitted that it would take time for Jackson to bed in to the men’s way of playing.

He added: “Ash has only been with us a short time, so it’ll be good to see how we can use his undoubted skills and abilities within the squad, but in these initial games it’s very much about Ash learning and understanding how the current team plays, so my expectations are tempered by the fact he’s coming in relatively new to an existing way of playing.”

GB women play the Dutch on Saturday, with Lily Owsley returning to the squad after being sidelined for a month.

Mark Hager continues his rotational trend by including goalkeeper Sabbie Heesh. Maddie Hinch, Amy Costello, Emily Defroand and the injured Suzy Petty are rested.

Teenagers Izzy Petty and Esme Burge retain their places after impressing in recent games.

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