Hollie Webb: Taking nothing for granted

Hollie Webb in action for England

A EuroHockey silver, World League bronze and a Commonwealth Games silver. Hollie Webb is just starting to grow her medal collection. The Surbiton star lines up against Spain tonight to see if she can put herself and her team into the frame to collect another EuroHockey medal in London. With the momentum of a strong pool stage behind them, England are quietly confident:

“We’ve got better game by game. In the Italy game we played well we just couldn’t take our chances. Against Germany we made the most of our opportunities and it was the best we’ve played in this competition. Hopefully those improvements will continue and we can get it done in the semi-final.”

As is common for the players in Danny Kerry’s side, Webb preaches the message of “one game at a time”, an oft repeated mantra that has seen the team go on a terrific unbeaten streak. Webb acknowledges the side is brimming with confidence but she is keen to emphasise the need to keep their feet on the ground:

“The group is in a positive place and we have a lot of confidence but there’s a fine line between confidence and complacency. I don’t think any of us will take the Spain game for granted. We know they’re a good side and we will employ the tactics we need to win. We’re positive but we aren't counting our chickens. They have good individual skills and defensively they are on you all the time. They have threats all over but if we play our game we should have a great chance.”

Against Germany, England’s forward line looked threatening with striker Alex Danson bagging a hat-trick to take her to 50 England goals. The value of the attacking talent, married with England’s defensive solidity is an exciting development:

“All our forwards are great. In international hockey you have to put your chances away. Knowing you have people capable of that makes a big difference for the rest of us. Alex Danson is an outstanding player but our other forwards are excellent too. We have a great defensive platform for them to go and express themselves. It’s working well at the moment.”

Despite her tally of over 50 international caps, Webb still considers herself as new to the international scene. She is not overawed, however, more just enjoying the experience:

“I try to just go with the flow and enjoy playing. Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I get to play with people I grew up watching and admired, it’s incredible to share a pitch with them now. I try to just get on with it. Each game’s just a hockey match at the end of the day. If you focus too much on the level or the opponents or the occasion you can get nervous which I don’t want.”

Inevitably, conversation turns to the prospect of a final in front of a home crowd. Webb’s excitement is visible, before she corrects herself and returns to the team’s mantra:

“Just thinking about a final gave me Goosebumps. The atmosphere at the Germany game was the best it’s been. We aren’t looking too far ahead but it would be an incredible end to the tournament to play in front of a home crowd in the final.”

Webb keeps her feet firmly on the ground, but if she and her England teammates can make it into Sunday’s final, perhaps they will allow themselves just a little moment to dream. First up, however, is Spain in the semi-final.