Roper and Pinner confident of World League success for England

England men national anthem HWL SF 2017
Fresh from winning bronze at this summer’s EuroHockey Championships, England captains George Pinner and Phil Roper believe they can go even further at the upcoming Odisha Hockey World League Final.

That medal was the second major accolade of the year for many of the squad who had also won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with Great Britain back in May.

The team will face Germany, world number two outfit Australia and hosts India as they bid to equal or better the bronze medal they won in 2012/13, the only time they participated in the tournament as England.

Despite being in a very tough group, Wimbledon forward Roper believes the side are more than capable of overcoming anyone on their day and will be pushing for a medal.

“It is a really exciting time at the moment. We have finished a tough training block and we are ready to put it into practice against the best in the world,” he said.

“We have been put through our paces, wearing warm weather gear - so more than we need - so we can prepare ourselves and give ourselves the best chance in India.

“We have trained really hard, worked on our game, worked on our techniques and our tactical stuff after that European bronze success.

“But that is not really enough. We want to push on and have success against the best.

While the heat and humidity of Bhubaneshwar could not be further away from the current British climate, many of the players will know what to expect having taken part in the 2014 Champions Trophy in the East Indian city.

Pinner admitted that he is thoroughly relishing the chance to play the hosts in their own backyard again and believes the partisan home crowd could enhance, not hinder, England’s chance of winning a medal.

“I have enjoyed India when we have been out there. They have really passionate fans and playing India will be an awesome experience, especially for some of our guys who have not been there before. 

“We were well looked after at our hotel and it is sunny which is a bit better than what we have got at home. 

“I remember Bhubaneshwar from a few years ago -  the India games were crazy, it was packed. My parents were in the stadium for that game and the atmosphere was unreal, so I can’t wait for that game.

“Big stadiums, big noise – that is what you want as a player.”

Squad: George Pinner (C), Phil Roper (C), David Ames, Liam Ansell, David Condon, Brendan Creed, Adam Dixon, James Gall, Harry Gibson, Mark Gleghorne, David Goodfield, Chris Griffiths, Harry Martin, Barry Middleton, Liam Sanford, Luke Taylor, Sam Ward, Henry Weir

Fixtures (all games on BT Sport):
Fri 1 December – Germany 11.15am (GMT)
Sat 2 December – India 2pm (GMT)
Mon 4 December – Australia 12.00pm (GMT)
Wed 6/Thu 7 December – Quarter-Final
Fri 8/Sat 9 December – Semi Final
Sun 10 December - Final