Ansley aims high in London

Giselle Ansley poised at a PC

“I hadn’t seen the stadium with all the new seats in until today but it looks absolutely amazing. You can already feel it will be a fantastic atmosphere, playing in the legacy stadium will be incredible.”

England’s Giselle Ansley cannot hide her excitement as she takes in the scene at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, the venue of the Unibet EuroHockey Championships. The elegant defender, a silver medallist in this competition in 2013 is clearly relishing the opportunity to play in front of a home crowd when the tournament gets going later this week.

“It’d be a dream to experience a similar atmosphere to the London 2012 Olympics. Obviously we’d like to improve upon the medal colour that they got back then but also we want to inspire the next generation of players to aspire to play in a stadium like this in the future.”

Whilst her enthusiasm for the occasion is obvious, Ansley is no star-struck novice. The No18 is approaching her 50th cap, a milestone she will reach at the tournament and whilst proud of such an achievement, she knows there is a job to be done. With England making up the bulk of the Great Britain side who secured Olympic Qualification in June, there is a real positive feeling about the quality of the team:

“We’ve had a really good block of training since World League, we've worked on a few things and trained really hard. We want to put on a good show for the home crowd and will certainly do our best to get those medals.” she adds “We have a good mix in the squad and that’s really important. We have a great defensive platform of which we’re very proud but from that we can launch dangerous attacks. We have some really skilful players in the side who can do some special things. If we can give them that defensive solidity, hopefully the forwards will have that licence to create some chances and score plenty of goals.”

Giselle Ansley in the changing rooms at LVHTC

On the subject of her 50th cap, Ansley the former Plymouth Marjons and Loughborough Students player beams with pride:

“Every time you play for your country it’s a really special moment. To come out to get my 50th cap is amazing. I never imagined I’d get one cap so to be reaching 50 and playing alongside some of the players I’m lucky enough to share a pitch with is really an incredible feeling.”

When asked about the prospect of topping that off with a gold medal, she is cautiously optimistic:

“It’s a really difficult competition. There are some truly great teams here, but to win a gold medal in my home country would be incredible. We got silver last time out in Belgium so to go one better this time will be really difficult but would be phenomenal.”

Want to see Ansley and her team mates taking on the best in Europe? You still can. Tickets are available from www.eurohockey2015.co.uk but be quick, they're going fast!