Hager hails ‘world class’ Danson-Bennett

Danson New Zealand
Having today announced her retirement from international hockey, GB and England Women’s Head Coach Mark Hager paid tribute to the impact Alex Danson-Bennett:

“I’ve got a huge amount of respect for Alex,” said Hager, “I always admired her from afar as a striker in her ability to convert chances out of nothing, having the tenacity and will in the circle to want to score goals…particularly when she wasn’t playing against me when I was coaching New Zealand!

“She’s a very talented hockey player and has a very good reputation, I think that’s why she’s so admired worldwide. When she crosses that white line, she’s a real competitor and then off the field she’s one of the nicest people you could meet.

“Between 2001 to 2004 when I was with the Aussie women, I knew of Alex even when she was a youngster before turning into a real world class striker who I coached against a lot with the New Zealand team.

Danson New Zealand

“You try to put someone on her and be aware that she has that uncanny ability to pop up in the circle and score goals out of nothing. She was always so hard to defend against. She had that ability to dive and be on the ground, which is very hard to mark, and I think that’s what stood her apart from a lot of other strikers is the fact she was always prepared to put her body on the line.

“She’s been one of the world’s best players and will really be missed. You can’t replace someone like her easily with what she brings both on and off the field. Her wellbeing is the number one priority, we’ll miss having her back and it’s sad.

“She’s played with a lot of the current team for a number of years and they were aware of what she was trying to achieve this year. Alex has always been up front and honest that if she didn’t feel she was ready she’d make that tough decision of retiring.

“You just think of the medals she’s won over the last two Olympics, especially the gold from Rio, I’m sure there are a lot of young people out there who aspire to be an Alex Danson in the future. She leaves an incredible legacy, not too many people have two Olympic medals and have achieved so much in the game.”

Great Britain and England Hockey will formally mark Alex’s incredible career in their FIH Hockey Pro League home game against Argentina at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday 16 May. With a capacity of up to 14,800, it will be a great moment to recognise Alex’s service to the sport. Click HERE for further details.