Kerry relishing the challenge of the Champions Trophy

England sing the national anthem at ILC 2014

With England gearing up for their opening Champions Trophy fixture with Australia this weekend, there is a determined and focused mood within the camp. Having lost out on a Commonwealth Games gold medal to the same opponents in agonizing fashion over the summer, Danny Kerry’s side will be keen to put one over on their old foes. However, with a tournament like the Champions Trophy, the focus must be on every team:

“The Champions Trophy is one of my favourite tournaments. It’s the best teams, it’s nip and tuck all the way through and the quality is very high.” says Kerry. “Argentina and Netherlands are probably the favourites, but Australia have really nailed down their style of play and had a great period. I feel we can cope with these sides on our day, though. I’m interested in making progress as a group and playing as well as we can, if we do that we’ll have a good tournament.”

Kerry led Great Britain to a silver medal in the last edition of the tournament in 2012, also in Argentina. It is an experience and a competition he looks back on very fondly:

“We lost 1-0 in the final but it was one of the highlights of the Olympic cycle. We went toe-to-toe with Argentina in their own backyard. It gave us a lot of belief we could get a medal at London which we did. I hope for more of the same this time around. We have an Olympic Qualifier in June and this will give us a chance to experience some tough match play and stand us in good stead for securing that Olympic place.”

With a number of new faces in the squad and the prospect of playing in front of a packed house of partisan home fans, Kerry views the competition as a fantastic learning opportunity for those less experienced players:

“For some players it will be a new experience. The crowds there are incredible and the noise is very different to what you get here, but the pace and intensity of the game means there isn’t much time to dwell on the crowd. Our sport is fast and intense and if you get lost in the occasion you lose.” he adds “This tournament gives opportunities to athletes to stake a claim and get some experience. It’s a squad picked on the quality of the training as well as developmental opportunity. We are aiming to grow in each game and see how we get on.”

With the biggest hitters in world hockey all present and correct, it promises to be a tournament packed with spectacular action and plenty of goals. You can follow all the action live on Sky Sports, starting this Saturday at 19:30. For the TV schedule, click here.

If you'd like to see Danny Kerry's side in action in the flesh, why not come on down to the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre next summer where they will be comepting in EuroHockey 2015. All the details and how to buy tickets are on our website.