McCallin ready to make home international return

Shona McCallin
Shona McCallin is eagerly anticipating stepping out onto the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre pitch this weekend as Great Britain contest their FIH Olympic Qualifiers.

It will be the first time in two-and-a-half years that the 27-year-old has done so, with her last appearance in London being the Investec International against The Netherlands in June 2017.

The road to this weekend has certainly been a tough one for the midfielder but, having overcome her injury problems, she is determined to beat Chile and qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“I’m excited, I’m ready, I’m confident and I’m looking forward to getting out in front of a home crowd again,” she said.

“It’s been a while and to get out on the pitch will not only be special for me but for my friends and family who are coming to watch as well.

“The mood is really good. We’ve had a really positive block of training and we all feel really prepared for these two games.

“Personally I feel really ready; I feel as fit as I’ve felt for a long time. The squad as a whole is looking sharp.”

McCallin is aiming to reach her second Olympic Games, having been a member of the side that famously won gold back at Rio 2016.

Having also been part of the squad that qualified for the tournament during the 2015 Hockey World League semi-final, she knows what is required of the team this weekend and is using that experience to help her team-mates prepare as best as possible.

She is also teaching them that it is ok to be nervous and that those feelings can actually help them focus on delivering winning performances.

“I remember it was a quarter-final game at the 2015 Hockey World League Semi-Finals (GB beat South Africa 2-0] so a one-off game and I do remember feeling extremely nervous for that,” she recalled.

“But that’s fine, I’m ok with being nervous and four years on I’m still nervous going into this weekend but I’m ok with that and think it’s a good thing.

“In that sense I can help the girls that maybe haven’t experienced a situation like this understand that being nervous is actually fine and that at the end of the day it’s just two games of hockey, something we’ve been doing for so long.

“It’s all about being positive and being as prepared as we can for this weekend and we know if we can bring what we can bring as individuals and as a squad, come Sunday we should have qualified for the Olympics.”

You can watch the GB women’s team take on Chile at 2pm on Saturday 2 November and 12pm on Sunday 3 November live on BT Sport. You will also be able to watch GB’s men face Malaysia at 4:30pm and 3pm on the same days respectively.