Monday, April 15, 2024

Danson is epitome of ‘total hockey’, says Kate Richardson-Walsh

As part of our 8-page print special to mark Alex Danson-Bennett’s career, we heard from leading figures

Kate Richardson-Walsh, Rio’s gold medal-winning captain, says Alex Danson has changed the game on a world level following an illustrious career.

Danson ended her formidable 18-year playing career with 306 total caps for England and Great Britain. She scored a joint-record 115 goals, level with Marjorie Pollard.

Richardson-Walsh not only believes that Danson is the best foward Great Britain has produced in women’s hockey. “On a world level, she has changed the game,” added Hampstead’s co-coach.

She said: “The eye for goal, the variety of shots and goals she scored, the PCs, she made herself a specialist on deflections. She scored chips, lobs, forehand, backhand, every kind of goal.

“She’s a total hockey player and would come into midfield to receive the ball. She understands the game and is a real student of the game. More than anything though, it was her will to win, her desire and passion. It was infectious.

“She’s authentic and she’s never felt the need to be anything other than herself and to try and change who she is. She has the strength of knowledge to understand who she is.”

Danson took over the captain’s armband following Richardson-Walsh’s retirement from the international game. And Richardson-Walsh added that the “outpouring of effection” following the news of her retirement backed up her own personal reflections.

She said: “Anyone who played on the pitch with her or watched her, they got it and what she’s about. All the plaudits she got, it could go on forever as there is so much to say about this incredible woman.”

Danson and Luciana Aymar go into battle during one of many tussles WORLD SPORT PICS

What they said

“They had a genuine understanding that it’s about team work and if you get everyone functioning in their role and working hard, then anything is possible.”
Trisha Heberle on Danson and KRW

“She lives to inspire the next generation; it is one of our core values. Her true love is the game and if she can inspire one or two people to be able to fulfill their dreams, that means so much to her.”
Sarah Evans, Surbiton and GB

“She will always be busy, she will always be synonymous with that incredible night in Rio, and she will always hold a special place in the hearts of hockey fans who got to see her play the game and live out her dreams as a professional sports woman.”
Alex’s brother, Ed

“Hockey is going to miss you. It was a huge pleasure to have shared some international tournaments with amazing sportswoman. I wish you all the best.”
Luciana Aymar, Argentina hockey great

“Alex the person is quite simply a wonderful human being. Her integrity, empathy and care for others always shone and continues today. Alex has used her profile for the good of our sport and sport in the wider context. Alex is an example of humility and giving back to sport and people that we can all reflect on. On a personal level I feel humbled to have worked with an athlete of this world leading calibre for so many years whose values always shone through.”
Danny Kerry, former GB women’s coach

“Even in my short space of time here, it’s clear to me the impact that Alex has had on our sport, both on and off the pitch. We will continue to see her legacy for a very long time to come, and the least we can do is thank her in person when we go back to the Stoop later this year.”
Nick Pink, England Hockey chief executive

“I know that the one person I would want on my team is Alex Danson and whether she is having a good game or not she shows that fight and she is a leader on the pitch. She is an absolute inspiration to everyone.”
Susannah Townsend

In lockdown over the coming weeks, we will be reproducing some of our special supplement pieces which celebrated Alex’s career to showcase to non-subscribers what we regularly create in print. Please help to support us ahead of the new season – whenever that may be.

Don’t miss out. Subscribe in print or in digital format.

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