England men set for Dutch showdown at Wakefield

Barry Middleton in acton for England against Japan at the World League STORY
England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley has named a squad of 20 players for the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup, which starts tomorrow. The tournament will see England play the world number three side, Netherlands, on Thursday 1, Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 August. Both sides will operate a rotation system with 18 athletes being selected for each match.
 
Playing the Netherlands on home turf at Wakefield ahead of the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships, which start on August 17, forms a key part of England’s final preparations. And England will be looking to get even with the side ranked one place above them in the world after a 6-1 loss last week at the ERGO Hamburg Masters.
 
Crutchley has recalled the Beeston duo of Ollie Willars and Ben Arnold to the 20 strong line-up, with the only other change from Hamburg being a goalkeeper switch; Reading’s James Bailey steps back in for Cannock’s Patrick Smith.
 
Despite the defeat last week, England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley is looking forward to the battle ahead, “We’re really pleased to get such a quality side to come and play us in our final preparations for the European championships and the team is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd for the first time since the Olympics.”
 
Adding his thoughts on the Netherlands and recent results, he added, “They are obviously a top team and after hitting peak form in London, coming away with an Olympic silver medal, they have continued that high level of play. We know it will be a strong challenge but it’s one that we have to try and match and given our world rankings [Netherlands number three and England number four] it will be a good indication of where we currently are.”
 
Summing up last week’s defeat at the Hamburg Masters, Crutchley said, “If we are off our game and do not play at the right intensity then the Netherland have the potential to put a good score on you, like they did in Hamburg. They will exploit us if we are slightly off our game, but we know what we need to do better. Our individual defence will be key, along with our ability to retain possession and create and convert more goal scoring opportunities.”

Tickets for the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup are being sold through Ticket Zone online, by clicking on the web button on England Hockey’s homepage or by calling the England Hockey ticket hotline on 08444 99 32 22.  Family, multiple match and advanced ticket discounts are available.

England Men’s Squad for NOW: Pensions Nations Cup
Ben Arnold (Forward)
James Bailey (Goalkeeper)
Alastair Brogdon (Forward)
Tom Carson (Forward)
Nick Catlin (Midfielder/Forward)
Darren Cheesman (Forward)
David Condon (Midfielder)
Adam Dixon (Midfielder/Defender)
Dan Fox (Defender)
Michael Hoare (Defender)
Iain Lewers (Defender)
Simon Mantell (Forward)
Harry Martin (Midfielder)
Barry Middleton (Midfielder/Forward)
George Pinner (Goalkeeper)
Phil Roper (Forward)
Dan Shingles (Midfielder)
Richard Smith (Defender)
Henry Weir (Midfielder/Defender)
Ollie Willars (Defender)

Match fixtures:
Thursday 1 August 2013 – gates open 16:00
17:30 – England U21s v Malaysia U21s
20:00 – England v Netherlands
 
Saturday 3 August 2013 – gates open 12:30
14:00 – England U21s v Malaysia U21s
16:30 – England v Netherlands
 
Sunday 4 August 2013 – gates open 10:30
12:00 – England U21s v Malaysia U21s
14:30 – England v Netherlands