(Photo: © FIH / hockeyimages.co.uk / England Hockey)

England have called up two newcomers into the senior men’s team to take on the best five nations in the world at the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy, which gets underway in Melbourne, Australia later this month.

Loughborough Students pair Nick Catlin, 20, and David Condon, 18, will join 15 members of the side that won the EuroHockey Nations Championships just over two months ago with Hampstead & Westminster’s Dan Fox also included.

Speaking about the inclusion of two relatively untried players, Head Coach Jason Lee said: “Despite a disappointing finishing position for the U21s at the Junior World Cup there were still some strong individual performances.  Nick Catlin and David Condon had good individual Junior World Cups and have performed well in senior training in the last month.  As a result we have decided to include them in the squad to travel to the Champions Trophy to help with their development.”

26-year-old Fox is still a relative newcomer to the squad having made his debut against Germany in May this year and Lee is keen to expose the defender to a competitive tournament environment for the first time.  “Dan Fox has entered senior international hockey at a late age but like many of the full training squad has performed to a high standard and is now considered to be pushing for a place in a big tournament,” said Lee.  “He has no previous tournament experience, even in junior hockey, so it was felt important to give him this opportunity.”

The three omissions from the European gold medal winning squad are Matt Daly, Ben Hawes and Simon Mantell.  Daly, who recently tore his quadricep muscle, and Mantell, who has suffered a fracture of his right foot, have been left out of the squad to provide them with a better environment to recover their physical condition ahead of February’s World Cup. 

As one of the most experienced players, Ben Hawes has been asked to not travel in order to provide the development opportunity for other members of the squad but this does not represent a de-selection for him.

Speaking as he announced his selection, Lee explained, “David Condon has just turned 18 and played both Under 18 and Under 21 international hockey this summer, so it is quite an achievement to play senior hockey in the same year.  He is the youngest player that I have selected in my time as the senior national coach.  Clearly, he is talented but there is still a long transition to be made to become a successful senior international player.

 “Nick Catlin is another young player at only 20 years old.  He was capped for Great Britain in the summer of 2008 when he was used to cover for injuries in the Olympic squad prior to departing for Beijing.  He played well on that occasion and it was considered that it would only be a matter of time before he added to his international caps.”

England’s players depart for Australia on Wednesday 18 November in preparation for the nine day tournament during which they will meet each of the five teams above them in the International Hockey Federation’s ABN AMRO World Rankings.  After opening their campaign against Germany, the team they beat to clinch European gold in August, England face Spain, Australia, the Netherlands and Korea before meeting one of those sides again in the final classification fixtures.

England’s Champions Trophy Squad: Richard Alexander, Alastair Brogdon, Nick Brothers, Nick Catlin, Jonty Clarke, David Condon, Adam Dixon, James Fair, Dan Fox, Ashley Jackson, Glenn Kirkham, Iain Mackay, Richard Mantell, Barry Middleton, Rob Moore, Richard Smith, James Tindall, Alastair Wilson.

Source: England Hockey