Dixon hopes to emulate 2009

Adam Dixon in action for England

The 2009 EuroHockey Nations in Amstelveen, Netherlands was a glorious tournament for the England men. A team who overcame the best Europe had to offer to pick up the gold medal; England’s golden boys were the kings of Europe. One of the squad, Beeston’s Adam Dixon was featuring in his first international tournament and could only have dreamt of such a start to his England career.

“International hockey was all new to me at the time but it was an amazing experience. We had a great mix of experienced heads and younger, fresher players coming in and mixing things up. There were some great games. We beat Belgium heavily in the first game and kind of rolled on from there building momentum. It was incredible to beat the Dutch in the semi final and then to win the final in front of a big crowd in a classic tie against the Germans.”

Despite the historic occasion, Dixon admits the final was “a bit of a blur” but with England clinical at set pieces and on the counterattack it was a classic performance from the side captained then, as now, by Barry Middleton.

“We showcased the strengths the English team is famed for; we were deadly on the break that day. I remember the euphoria after the game. All the staff and players were ecstatic and it was a truly incredible feeling which I’d love to emulate this summer.”

Middleton lifts the EuroHockey Championships trophy in 2009

A young England player by the name of Ashley Jackson, who was also just cutting his teeth in the international game, won the 2009 player of the tournament award after a superb competition. Dixon counts himself extremely lucky to have come up through the junior ranks and into the seniors with such a player:

“I’ve seen him develop from a 16-year-old at the junior world cup right through to the player he is now. I’m not the biggest but he was even smaller than me, he was running rings around people and you could see his potential even then. His development accelerated through 2008 and he was world class by 2009. He really announced himself on the world stage at that tournament. He’s not just great in tournaments, he does it day in day out and that shows you what a world class player he is.”

Whilst the trip down memory lane is a nice one for the 28-year-old, he is characteristically focused on the upcoming tournament in front of a home crowd:

“We’ve had a good Olympic qualifier and the pressure is off us a little bit now we’ve qualified for Rio. Hopefully that opens up a bit of freedom for us to showcase our talents on home soil. It’s an incredible e opportunity. We have a really good squad who have played a lot of games together and if we can put a run together like we did in 2009, who knows what could happen?” he adds: “We want to start winning competitions. The more semi-finals we get to and the more we win those, the more we’ll learn. We want to win the big tournaments and it’d be fantastic to deliver in front of a home crowd. It’ll be really difficult but we’re really looking forward to it.”

Can England emulate the Class of 2009 and capture the title at the Unibet EuroHockey Championships? There isn't long to wait to find out with their first game this coming Friday. Tickets are still available so why not head over to www.eurohockey2015.co.uk/tickets to secure your seat for the hottest ticket in town!