Sunday, December 3, 2023

Behind the mask: England and GB Hockey have unearthed a goalkeeping gem

If your goalkeeper is in control and unflustered by the situation, it instils a confidence in the defenders. Ollie Payne has all that.

Having had some time to reflect on England’s ultimately unsuccessful Hockey World Cup campaign, I’d have to say my overriding feeling of the whole thing is one of disappointment but also of hope and optimism.

Paul Revington’s side topped a pool that many people would not have predicted them coming first in and for almost all of their quarter-final with Germany, England looked in control and on course for the semi-finals. As we know, some late indiscipline and shootout heartbreak cost them dearly and it was all over. However, I saw enough to make me think something special might just be happening with this group of players.

As well as their attacking verve and the emergence of what looks like a genuinely world class talent in Zach Wallace, another player caught my eye: The goalkeeper, Ollie Payne.

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