The EuroHockey Men's Indoor Championships start tomorrow

Reading and England star Darren Cheesman in action in the Maxinutrition Hockey 5s - credit Ady Kerry England Hockey

Tomorrow, the England men's squad starts their Indoor Campaign in Vienna, Austria as they face Germany, Netherlands and Russia in the new 5-a-side indoor format at the EuroHockey Men's Indoor Championships.

Playing their first match at 10:10 (UK time) against the Netherlands, the England Indoor team will be aiming to match their outdoor counterparts' success at the Hero Hockey World League. They won't have long to rest before their next game either, as they face the Russian team at 14:30 later that day.

Ahead of the men’s 2014 EuroHockey Indoor Championships, England [Indoor] Head Coach Andy Halliday selected his squad of 12 players to take part in the tournament which runs from 17-19 January in Vienna, Austria. The tournament will be played under the new 5-a-side format.

Check out the fixture list here.

With 18 members of the England centralised training squad out in India taking part in the Hero Hockey World League Finals the tournament provides a great opportunity for players on the fringe of the centralised group to experience indoor hockey against seven of the world’s best teams.

Speaking about the tournament ahead, Halliday said; “We go into this tournament with one clear aim which is to finish in the top six and retain our top division status. Finishing top six will also qualify us for the Indoor World Cup in Germany next year, which would be a fantastic achievement; however I do think we have to enter this tournament with realistic aspirations as well. We have a very inexperienced indoor team, with just over 50 indoor caps between the 12 selected players.”

Of the 12 athletes, eight are uncapped indoors, and four will make their international debuts; Harry Gibson and Chris Griffiths from Loughborough Students, Sam Ward from Beeston and Chris Newman from Reading.

Beeston’s Sam Ward is an out and out goal scorer, currently sitting top of both the outdoor and indoor tables with 15 and 26 goals respectively. He will be joined in attack by another prolific goal scorer, Simon Egerton, who is currently playing his club hockey for HGC in The Netherlands [outdoor] and Bowdon [indoor].

Egerton, alongside Richard Lane [Holcombe], David Cooper [Hampstead & Westminster], Richard Springham [Reading] and David Beckett [Cannock], bring some vital experience to the squad and will no doubt play a key part to England’s progress. Reading Captain Springham, who has 15 indoor caps, will take charge of England during the tournament.

Although several players will be making their indoor international debuts, the likes of Ben Arnold, Darren Cheesman, Beckett and James Bailey are all familiar names from the GB & England centralised training squad. Bailey has been in great form for Reading in the Maxinutrition Hockey 5s between the posts and with the new 5 a-side rules he will be vital to England’s chances of finishing in the top six. Finishing seventh or eighth will mean relegation from the top flight.

England has been drawn in Pool A and has an unenviable task of battling it out against current World and European Indoor Champions Germany, The Netherlands and Russia.

Speaking about the draw, Halliday added: “As indoor draws go it doesn’t get much tougher than meeting these teams. The Netherlands have a separate indoor team which obviously gives them an advantage coming into the tournament because their selection is not affected by outdoor commitments. Germany’s strength in depth allows them to always field a strong team in any competition and as defending champions they will be seen as favourites to finish top. And Russia, like many of the Eastern European countries have a strong indoor hockey set-up due to the nature of their long winters.”

Ahead of the Europeans, England travelled to Brussels last Friday for a Tri-Nations tournament against Belgium and Scotland who are also preparing for European competition. The matches were be capped and results and match reports for these games are on the England Hockey website International Results section, and they've all been brought together here as well.

England's first game will be against the Netherlands at 10:10 (UK time) on Friday 17 January: a full round-up or results, scorers and reflections on the game will be available at englandhockey.co.uk

To read more information on the 2014 EuroHockey Indoor Championship, see below. 


2014 EuroHockey Indoor Championship Pools

Pool A

Germany
Netherlands
Russia
England

Pool B

Czech Republic
Austria
Poland
Sweden

EuroHockey Indoor Championship match schedule

England Men’s Squad for the 2014 EuroHockey Indoor Championship

Name - Current Club

Ben Arnold - Beeston
James Bailey - Reading
David Beckett - Cannock
Darren Cheesman - Reading
David Cooper - Hampstead and Westminster
Simon Egerton - HGC (NED) – Bowdon (indoor)
Harry Gibson - Loughborough Students
Chris Griffiths - Loughborough Students
Richard Lane - Holcombe
Chris Newman - Reading
Richard Springham - Reading
Sam Ward - Beeston