Tuesday, June 18, 2024

England men set for raft of debuts to kick off Hockey Pro League

Changes are afoot in England and Great Britain hockey circles. New faces will debut at the FIH Pro League over the coming days, while England replaces GB for the first time as the nation competing in the global league’s third season.

With a mix of Tokyo Olympians and seven players who could make their England debut, it remains to be seen whether the latter set will be centrally contracted next week or if the upcoming two games against Spain will act as a final trial for Paris 2024 programme places.

One standout name stated in the final paragraph of England Hockey’s release on Wednesday also stuck out; Barry Middleton, who retired as one of GB’s greatest players after the 2018 World Cup, will travel as an assistant coach to interim Zak Jones. Middleton has been working with the GB EDP squad of late.

Wimbledon’s Duncan Scott and club team-mate Peter Scott – in line to play his first senior games since 2017 – are part of Jones’ squad, having lifted the Super 6s indoor trophy at the weekend.

James Mazarelo and Stuart Rushmere, the uncapped Loughborough Students duo who have been part of recent GB junior success, are also selected. So too University of Exeter’s Sam Taylor, Surbiton’s Nick Park and James Oates, the Hampstead & Westminster midfielder.

Meanwhile, forward Nick Bandurak is also called up after impressing at GB trials, as well as his continued form at club level for Holcombe. Old Georgians’ James Albery is set to pull on the England shirt for the first time since 2018.

Seven members of GB’s Tokyo squad will also travel to Valencia, including HC Oranje-Rood duo David Ames and Phil Roper. Will Calnan, James Gall, Chris Griffiths, Ian Sloan and Sam Ward were all unavailable this weekend, said England Hockey. Olympian Brendan Creed is also missing from the squad.

England and GB Hockey are also currently recruiting for the men’s coach role ahead of Paris 2024, while an announcement is not expected imminently.

Jones said: “It has been an interesting start to 2022 and a challenging period for the squad but, to their credit, they have really taken ownership and responsibility for the situation and in moving things forward positively.

“I am pleased with where we are as a collective. As a group, we have made some good strides forward over the past couple of weeks and we will look to continue our development and learning on that upward trajectory through these two fixtures.”

England’s first match against Spain will take place at 10:00 GMT on Friday, with the second game following the next day at 12pm GMT. Both will be shown live on BT Sport.

England squad

  • James Albery – Old Georgians HC
  • David Ames – HC Oranje-Rood (Ned)
  • Liam Ansell – Wimbledon HC
  • Nick Bandurak – Holcombe HC
  • David Condon – Wimbledon HC
  • David Goodfield – Surbiton HC
  • James Mazarelo – Loughborough Students
  • James Oates – Hampstead & Westminster HC
  • Nick Park – Surbiton HC
  • Ollie Payne – Holcombe HC
  • Phil Roper – HC Oranje-Rood (Ned)
  • Stuart Rushmere – Loughborough Students
  • Liam Sanford – Old Georgians HC
  • Duncan Scott – Wimbledon HC
  • Peter Scott – Wimbledon HC
  • Rhys Smith – Wimbledon HC
  • Tom Sorsby – Surbiton HC
  • Sam Taylor – University of Exeter
  • Zach Wallace – HGC (Ned)
  • Jack Waller – Gantoise (Bel)

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