Alastair Brogdon on success and setbacks

Alastair Brogdon at the EuroHockey Championship

As Alastair Brogdon closes in on the 100 cap mark, he's now preparing for his second World Cup. We caught up with the Wimbledon man to talk about the tournament in The Hague, injuries and of course, Belgium.

Alastair Brogdon has pretty much seen it all as far as hockey is concerned. He made his international debut back in 2009 at the Champions Trophy, and was a member of the England side who went on a stunning run and brought home the European gold in that same year. He has also battled his way back from a series of injuries and still found time to play abroad with Belgium’s Waterloo Ducks.

The competition in The Hague will be your second World Cup, how are you feeling about it? What are you looking forward to most?

I played in the last one out in Delhi and this is going to be a similar environment. It’ll be a big stadium with big crowds which we’re very excited about. Playing in front of big crowds brings the best out of us. I’m personally very excited about it but everyone else in the squad is too. Hopefully we can put in some good performances.

You’ve battled back from a few injuries during your career. Does that give you a different perspective and make you enjoy these occasions a bit more?

Maybe a little bit. I’ve put a lot of effort into making sure the injuries don’t reoccur so I’m out on the pitch a lot and working hard every day. These tournaments are what I want to be playing in and I’m sure that goes for every international hockey player, it's now just about making sure I put in the performances I know I'm capable of.

Does the fact you and some of the other players have been exposed to different tactics and styles from playing in Europe stand you in good stead coming into these tournaments?

Definitely it does. Playing in different environments and different competitions is always good for you. In Belgium there was a slightly different style of hockey and you play with a lot of different nationalities who you can pick up and learn things from. It’s one of the reasons I went in the first place, to learn as much as I could and bring that back to put into my game when I play for the national team. The English players who have played abroad have certainly benefitted from doing so.

You know the Belgians very well, what can we expect from them?

They're a very driven side and very quick on the counterattack. They score a lot of goals and at the other end their goalkeeper, Vincent Vanasch - who I played with at Waterloo Ducks - is an outstanding ‘keeper. They will be a team who is pushing to win the World Cup. Their attacking style of play and the ability to score goals is something everyone will need to watch out for.

England play them last in the pool, in what could be a potentially decisive match. How do you feel about lining up against friends and possibly knocking them out?

It’d be great. They’ve beaten us in a few test matches recently but I think playing them in the World Cup will be different. It’s a game we really want to win. If we can do it, and hopefully we can, it’ll be a great feeling for me and of course the team.

Penalty shootouts and England in the World Cup make for uncomfortable company. Have you been practicing? Will you be able to step up when it’s needed?

We’ve practiced them quite a bit so we’re a bit more used to the situations we’re going to be in. You can’t really replicate what it’ll be like on the day or night that it takes place for real but we’ve done as much as we can. We’ll be ready if that’s what it comes down to.

If you could pick one player from another team in the World Cup to play for England who would it be and why?

I don’t think I’d take anyone. We have a great passion for playing for England within the group and I think we have enough great players in the side to get the job done without needing anyone from any other teams.

Can England win it?

Definitely. We’ve got a great chance. We’ve shown previously we can win against the best teams so we’ll be aiming to do that when we get there.

Brogdon goes round Vanasch and fires home the winner in the final, how does that sound?

It sounds brilliant. I’m sure I’d have a nice celebration off the back of that. I’d love to be in position to score the winning goal, especially against him!

You can follow Brogdon and England’s progress in the Rabobank World Cup by tuning in to the games on Sky Sports. Also, check out how we think England matches up against the other teams in their pool here.

Get the dates and times in your diary so you don't miss any of the action - you can find the men's and women's tournament schedules in our International Fixtures section, or all of them together here.