Nine new faces join men's central programme

Phil Roper and Alan Forsyth

Marking the beginning of a new era for men’s hockey, Head Coach Bobby Crutchley has added nine new faces to his 27-man playing squad for the new Olympic cycle.

The squad has an average age of just 25 as Crutchley relaunches his team, and their first opportunity comes this summer when England play in the prestigious Hockey World League in London. Indeed it is an exciting time for all of the Great British teams with Scotland and Wales both safely through to World League round two in March, when they will go up against each other for a place in the next stage.

Joining the programme are Liam Ansell, Brendan Creed and David Goodfield (all Surbiton), Jonty Griffiths, Ed Horler and Luke Taylor (all Loughborough University), James Albery (Beeston), Dan Kyriakides (Cardiff & Met) and Liam Sanford (Team Bath Buccaneers and the Royal Air Force). These nine represent the very best young talent in the nation and many have progressed through the Player Pathway to join the central programme at Bisham Abbey, funded by UK Sport and the National Lottery.

These youngsters will blend into the existing group of the country’s best hockey players, who were in medal contention for every major tournament between London 2012 and Rio, earning bronze at the last Commonwealth Games and fourth at both the World Cup and EuroHockey Championships.

Barry Middleton, the most capped player in his country’s history, is closing in on 400 caps and will return to the setup in the hope of competing in his fifth Olympics. From Rio, David Ames, David Condon, Adam Dixon, Mark Gleghorne, Michael Hoare, Harry Martin, George Pinner, Ian Sloan, Sam Ward and Henry Weir will also look to take their Olympic experience to Japan in three years’ time.

Scotland’s Alan Forsyth and Chris Grassick will again play a key role in the central programme, with Forsyth aiming to build on his very impressive domestic goalscoring record, and Grassick currently working extremely hard to battle back from injury. As mentioned above, we are delighted to also add Welsh representation to the squad in the form of Cardiff’s Dan Kyriakides.

As previously announced, Olympians Alastair Brogdon, Dan Fox, Simon Mantell and Dan Shingles have retired from international hockey and we would like to wish them the best of luck for the future.

A large number of athletes contributed to the Rio cycle, and we would like to place on record our gratitude for their continued contribution over a number of years, most recently double Olympians Nick Catlin and Iain Lewers.

After his third Olympic cycle, Ashley Jackson has decided to make himself unavailable for selection at this stage, along with James Bailey who - following a successful internship - has taken up a full-time job at Citibank in London.

With the Hockey World League in London this June, England’s men have a wonderful opportunity to play in front of a vociferous home crowd and bid for World Cup qualification - tickets for the event are on sale now. With the Rabo EuroHockey Championships later in the year and the Commonwealth Games at the start of 2018, there are a number of opportunities for Crutchley’s team to show their talents on the biggest stages as they enter a new era for men’s hockey.

Head coach Bobby Crutchley said, “We’re very excited about this new group, there’s been significant change and we’re looking forward to really getting going and developing the players.

“When we had the players in for assessment late last year, seeing how keen and eager the players were really reinvigorated the group and will keep all of us on our toes. As always at this time there has been significant change, difficult decisions and we will miss all of the players who have either retired or aren’t selected for this cycle.

“We’ve got some key tournaments coming up this year, particularly the Hockey World League in London and the EuroHockey Championships in Holland, and while we’ll be taking something of a long lens for those events, we need to improve quickly and create a team that will stand us in good stead for the whole cycle.

“I’m excited about the challenge, we have a vibrant squad with a good blend of youth & experience, and we’re eager to get going.”

Full time athletes:
James Albery (Beeston)+
David Ames (Holcombe)
Liam Ansell (Surbiton)+
Tom Carson (Reading)
David Condon (East Grinstead)
Brendan Creed (Surbiton)+
Adam Dixon (Rotterdam)
Alan Forsyth (Surbiton)*
Harry Gibson (Surbiton)
Mark Gleghorne (Beeston)
David Goodfield (Surbiton)+
Chris Grassick (Surbiton)*
Chris Griffiths (East Grinstead)
Michael Hoare (Wimbledon)
Harry Martin (Rotterdam)
Barry Middleton (Holcombe)
George Pinner (Holcombe)
Phil Roper (Wimbledon)
Liam Sanford (Team Bath Buccaneers and RAF)+
Ian Sloan (Wimbledon)
Luke Taylor (Loughborough University)+
Sam Ward (Holcombe)
Henry Weir (Wimbledon)
Ollie Willars (Beeston)

Part time athletes:
Jonty Griffiths (Loughborough University)+
Ed Horler (Loughborough University)+
Dan Kyriakides (Cardiff and Met)+**

+New addition to the central programme
*Qualifies to represent Scotland
** Qualifies to represent Wales

The Hockey World League semi-final takes place from 15th to 25th June 2017 at our Olympic legacy venue, the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. The event is the vital qualifier for the 2018 Hockey World Cup, which will take place in India and is the biggest hockey competition outside the Olympics. Tickets are on sale now and have been selling fast, starting at just £2.50 for children and £10 for adults. England games begin at £5 for children and £17.50 for adults.

A sponsorship opportunity to become title sponsor of the men’s England and Great Britain Hockey team is available – contact Graham Swanson on graham.swanson@englandhockey.co.uk or 07590 183304 for more details.