England's Brogdon eager for Netherlands battle

ali brogdon story
With the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup starting on Thursday, we met with England’s Alastair Brogdon to discuss his thoughts on the event, the opposition and everything in between.
Q: With the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup fast approaching, how are you feeling about the tournament? And how do you feel about playing against the Netherlands?

It should be a really good tournament; we’re all really looking forward to it. The Dutch are always tough competition (the Netherlands are ranked number three in the world, just one place above England and in recent practice matches played, England have lost 1-0 and 2-1). They came second in The Olympics with a good team of young players who will, no doubt, be looking to push on with all the experience they gained from games. With the World cup in The Hague in Holland next year also, they’ll be really pushing to win every match, so the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup is bound to produce some really exciting matches.

Q: You’re originally from Manchester, a Bowdon HC boy, how do you feel about having international hockey up north?

Great! It’s not often the North get international games so it will be really good having the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup up in Yorkshire. After having the Olympics and the Investec World League in London, it’s great to take the sport to other parts of England. Hockey is very popular on both sides of the Pennines and I’m sure it will be well supported.

Q: Do you have any friends or family coming to Wakefield to support? Or even some old team mates?

My parents will be there, and I went to university in Leeds so hopefully I’ll have a few friends coming along as well. There’s normally a really good level of support for Bowdon games and obviously a lot of very keen hockey fans up there so I’m sure there will be a good group of Bowdon people travelling across to support.

Q: After Bowdon you moved on to Waterloo Ducks, (Waterloo Ducks are the top premier league side in Belgium) how’s your time there been and how has it differed from English hockey?

I had a great time, absolutely loved it. I played for a really strong team, with a number of Olympians from both the London and Beijing games. I was taught lots of different styles, especially a more attacking approach to hockey. I learnt a lot from it and hopefully it will help me and the team with playing international hockey. 

Q: You must have been disappointed to miss out on the World League Tournament in Malaysia, (England finished in third place behind Germany and Argentina but Alastair was unable to play due to injury) do you feel fit and ready for this tournament?

Well, off the back of the World League tournament, we qualified for the World Cup and had some very good performances against some very tough opponents so we’re just building on what the guys learnt out there and taking that forward into future matches. Obviously, I would have loved to play in Malaysia but I’ve had a really good 4-5 week block of daily rehabilitation and working with strength and conditioning coaches to get my fitness back up to where it should be. I’ve been doing lots of speed and endurance sessions in the gym and I’m feeling quite fresh. I’ve had the time to build myself back up into my hockey and I’m feeling really good; fit and ready for the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup!

Q: How do you feel about the new faces in the squad? Has anyone really stood out and impressed you?

There are guys who have played U21 hockey and guys who have performed really well in the league in the past few years so it’s difficult to single any one player out. One of the reasons we did so well out in Malaysia was because of how well we performed together as a team, it was vital that everyone got on well and now we’ve started to play some really good hockey collectively. The quality of how everyone has knitted together in such a short space of time was really reflected in our matches in the World League and hopefully we’ll continue to progress as a squad.

Q: It sounds like a great team line-up; we’ll have our fingers crossed for you! Do you have any little superstitions or rituals you like to do before a match for good luck?

I don’t really, no. I tend to be quite relaxed before a game. We listen to music in the changing rooms when we get ready which is just a collection of songs the guys put together but I don’t have any specific rituals. I’m sure some of the guys on our team have a few odd superstitions but I don’t; I just focus on the game ahead and get warmed up.

Alastair and the rest of the England squad will play in three matches against Olympic silver medallists the Netherlands over the course from Thursday to Sunday this week. The series promises some exciting hockey as both teams will be looking for a win ahead of the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships in Belgium from 17-25 August. In addition the U21 team will be playing Malaysia U21 prior to the senior England matches, in a bid to gain more international match play experience before they compete in the Junior World Cup later in the year.

Tickets for this event are being sold through Ticket Zone – Click here to buy online or call the England Hockey Hotline on 08444 99 32 22 - If you have a query relating to a ticket booking please call the England Hockey Hotline on 08444 99 32 22 and select the Customer Services option.