Semi-Final Preview: David Ames

David Ames playing for England against Spain

David Ames has only a handful of England and Great Britain caps, but if you watch the classy midfielder play you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s been in the side for years. A player who dovetails perfectly with Ashley Jackson and Barry Middleton, his early displays have given Bobby Crutchley’s side something extra in the middle of the park. A fierce competitor with high standards, Ames has enjoyed a hectic but successful start to his England and Great Britain career:

“I put a lot of pressure on myself. I wanted to get selected as quickly as possible for England and it’s great to be here. It’s been a roller coaster in terms of starting in the programme, going to the World League, qualifying for the Olympics and now playing here and reaching the semi final, my feet have barely touched the ground but I’m really happy with how it’s gone.”

With such a whirlwind few months it would be easy for Ames to be overawed by it all, but the Beeston midfielder exudes an air of calm. If anything, he is relishing the whole experience. The crowd in London this week has been a particular highlight for the No30:

“The crowd are massive. It’s a huge motivator in terms of the amount of people who turn up to watch. The fans have been fantastic and England hockey have done a great job running the tournament.” He adds: “It’s a bonus when you do something good or the team does well and the crowd reacts to it. Seeing so many kids asking for autographs after is incredible. It gives you a huge lift. We’ll need them to help us against Germany.”

With so much focus on the hosts and so much expectation it could be easy to think the players feel the pressure. Ames is characteristically calm about the whole thing:

“It can be a distraction but there’s enough experience in the group that we know what to expect. It doesn’t affect us negatively. We’re here to win games and it’s great to have that attention but we’re very focused.”

With the Olympic and European champions looming large on the horizon Ames describes the semi-final with Germany as “the biggest game of my career” but with England showing good form to put Spain to the sword in their last pool game the Beeston midfielder is quietly confident:

“We showed against Spain that when we’re on it we can play quality hockey. We know what Germany are like. They’ve won plenty of medals and they always get to semi-finals and finals but we want to produce a performance that’s worthy of winning a semi-final. We have a game plan, we’re confident and we know the quality we have. If we perform we can do it.”

Tickets are still available to come and watch England go for glory at the Unibet EuroHockey Championships. Visit www.eurohockey2015.co.uk/tickets for all the details.

You can also follow the action via the BBC Sport website and the BBC Red Button.