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Middleton and Richard Mantell left out of GB squad for Visa Olympic test event
The Great Britain Hockey men’s squad has been announced for the forthcoming London Prepares VISA International Invitational Hockey Tournament which runs from the 2-6 May 2012. Great Britain will face opponents Germany, India and Australia across four days of competition with the final taking place on Sunday 6 May at 18:30.
The tournament is the first since the 2011 Champions Trophy last December, where Great Britain finished sixth and follows a challenging two week training camp and test series over in South Africa in February.
Great Britain Head Coach Jason Lee has named an 18 athlete squad which includes six players who missed out on the 2011 Champions Trophy in New Zealand. Loughborough Students’ Richard Smith, Hampstead and Westminster’s Dan Fox and Surbiton’s Richard Alexander have all been recalled to the side. Reading duo Nick Catlin and Jonty Clarke, fresh from their club’s 5-4 victory against East Grinstead in the Men’s England Hockey League Championship Final are also included. Alongside them, Beeston’s Alastair Wilson will also return to the defensive line after missing the Champions Trophy because of a knee injury he suffered just a couple of days before the tournament started. Wilson will make his 50th Great Britain appearance during the tournament if he is selected to play in all four games at the Riverbank Arena.
Commenting on his squad selection for the competition, Lee said “We are still very much in the selection phase ahead of the Olympics this Summer. When you consider that we have 27 players in the Great Britain squad, all with a chance of Olympic selection, but only 18 players allowed to compete in the Test Event, then obviously some had to miss out. On this occasion, that includes Barry Middleton.” For Lee, the tournament provides an opportunity to see his squad perform against some of the world’s best teams. He added; “The final squad for the Olympics will be the best combination of players not necessarily the best individuals.”
Following the same route as the women’s selection Lee has also only selected one goalkeeper, Cannock’s James Fair. Speaking about this decision Lee said, “By taking only one goalkeeper we are able to give more opportunities to the outfielders. There is a risk, of course, of playing without a goalkeeper if Fair gets injured but we have got a practised plan B - an outfielder to go in goal - and a plan C -11 outfielders - to cover for this eventuality.”
Also included in the line-up for the tournament is the youngest member of the Great Britain squad, 19 year old Old Loughtonians’ athlete Harry Martin, following his impressive Champions Trophy performances at the end of last year.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, East Grinstead’s Mark Pearn at the age of 35 has also been named in the squad. Pearn came back into the international set-up in 2011 following a six year absence and will be the most capped player in the squad with 86 Great Britain and 157 England caps to his name. Pearn’s successful return to the international scene was also acknowledged earlier this year when he was awarded the Hockey Writer’s Club Player of the Year award.
Joining Pearn in the line-up are his club teammates, Ashley Jackson, Iain Lewers and Glenn Kirkham. Experienced Surbiton duo, James Tindall and Rob Moore are also named in the 18 athlete squad. Both players will be in search of their 20th Great Britain goal, sitting on 19 and 18 respectively.
Speaking about his side’s approach to the tournament, Lee said, “The VISA International Invitational Hockey Tournament is a run of four games against high quality opposition that provides a great challenge. We will be going into each game focused on winning that game, hopefully utilising the abilities developed in training over the last 12 months. Simply put though, the clue is in the title of the tournament; the ‘Test’ Event.”
The VISA International Invitational Hockey Tournament is the penultimate tournament for the Great Britain men’s hockey team before the Olympic Games this Summer. Following the tournament the squad will travel to Malaysia to compete for the The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup from 24 May – 3 June 2012.
BBC Sport will be broadcasting coverage of all of the Great Britain men’s matches at the London Prepares VISA International Invitational Hockey Tournament on the BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website. The coverage will coincide with the times listed below. Please note the schedule is subject to change.
Great Britain Men’s Squad for London Prepares VISA International Invitational Hockey Tournament
Name (Club) Position [Home Nation] Great Britain Caps/Great Britain Goals - Home Nation Caps/Home Nation Goals - Age
Richard Alexander (Surbiton) Midfielder/Defender [England] 48/5 - 130/13 - 30
Nick Catlin (Reading) Midfielder/Forward [England] 9/3 - 45/3 - 23
Jonty Clarke (Reading) Forward [England] 44/12 - 138/28 - 31
Adam Dixon (Beeston) Defender/Midfielder [England] 20/0 - 58/2 - 25
James Fair (Cannock) Goalkeeper [England] 27/0 - 87/0 - 31
Dan Fox (Hampstead and Westminster) Defender [England] 7/0 - 23/0 - 29
Ben Hawes (Wimbledon) Defender/Midfielder [England] 79/19 - 125/25 - 31
Ashley Jackson (East Grinstead) Midfielder [England] 51/16 - 71/49 - 24
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead) Midfielder [England] 58/5 - 145/7 - 29
Iain Lewers (East Grinstead) Defender [England] 17/0 - 15/1 - 28
Iain Mackay (Reading) Midfielder [England] 21/1 - 63/11 - 27
Simon Mantell (Reading) Forward [England] 52/9 - 83/35 - 28
Harry Martin (Old Loughtonians) Midfielder [England] 16/2 - 8/0 - 19
Rob Moore (Surbiton) Midfielder/Forward [England] 72/18 - 148/19 - 30
Mark Pearn (East Grinstead) Forward [England] 86/24 - 157/50 - 35
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students) Defender [England] 9/4 - 64/7 - 24
James Tindall (Surbiton) Forward [England] 55/19 - 126/56 - 29
Ali Wilson (Beeston) Defender [England] 46/0 - 103/6 - 28