Champions Trophy a "huge opportunity" for Pinner

George Pinner playing for GB

The Rio Olympics draw ever closer. With the days ticking by training is harder, selection is looming and everyone is pouring every ounce of blood sweat and tears into making sure they are on that plane.

Goalkeeper George Pinner is one such athlete who hopes to secure a spot in the squad to compete for medals in Rio and with today being St George’s day we thought we’d take a few minutes to speak to our very own George about how the preparations are going.

“Things are going really well.” says the giant goalkeeper. “We had some good results against Ireland in our training games a couple of weeks ago winning 3-0 [twice] and 5-1 with some excellent performances. It was a real morale booster because they’re a good side who we’ve had plenty of close games with.” he adds “We’ve followed that with a couple of good weeks’ training and we’re off to Australia to play them in three games over there which will be excellent. We’re all looking very sharp and selection will be really tight.”

Of course selection is not a given for any of the players and with the Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy, which takes place 10-17 June in London representing something of a last chance to impress for some players, Pinner is relishing a return to his side’s home of hockey:

“Whenever we play on home soil the support is terrific. Lee Valley is a great place to go and the home support really works in our favour. All the games were amazing at the Euros and the atmosphere was electric. We were really disappointed we couldn’t get a medal to reward the fans for their support. It’s a fantastic chance to play in front of a home crowd and make amends for last summer as well as staking a claim for a place in the Rio squad.”

With the Olympics so soon after the Champions Trophy Pinner sees the tournament in London as the perfect way to prepare for sport’s greatest show:

“You always play a number of games building into an Olympics but they are usually one-off friendlies. Being able to play in a tournament environment makes a huge difference. Your mindset has to change. You aren’t just working on tactics, you’re working on the lack of rest, lots of games in a short space of time, the meals, the routine and everything that goes with a tournament. It’s a great chance for us to prepare so close to Rio.”

George Pinner Mark Gleghorne and Barry Middleton sing the national anthem

With today being St George’s day, of course we couldn’t let the Holcombe stopper go without a word on how it feels to play for his nation.

“I’m proud to be English and to be British. To represent my country is a huge honour for me. I hope to play well for England and Great Britain because it means a lot to me and my family.”

Perhaps, if Pinner collects a medal in London and then in Rio, he might not be far off being dubbed St George by Great Britain’s hockey fans.

Don’t miss out on your chance to see the best of the best come together in the last competition before the Olympics in Rio. See the likes of Jamie Dwyer; Moritz Furste, Sardar Singh, and Tom Boon go up against the best of British in Ashley Jackson, Barry Middleton, Iain Lewers and the rest of Bobby Crutchley’s Olympic hopefuls. Click here to buy your tickets.