Eight players will experience the pride of pulling on a Great Britain shirt for the first time next month after Great Britain Head Coach Danny Kerry announced his 18-athlete squad for December’s five game test series against Argentina in Salta.
Included among the eight GB debutants are four Leicester players: Gemma Darrington, Katie Long, Hannah Macleod and Laura Unsworth. Also due to make a first appearance are Kirsty Mackay, Reading’s Emily Maguire, Natalie Seymour of Canterbury, and Slough’s Nicola White. For Mackay, the Bowdon Hightown goalkeeper, an appearance in South America would mark her full international debut as she has yet to play for England at senior level.
The series will also mark the return of Crista Cullen to the international fold, the international centurion having taken a year out after the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games where she helped Great Britain to a sixth place finish.
Also included in the squad are Helen Richardson and Susie Gilbert who were shortlisted for World Player of the Year and World Young Player of the Year respectively on Wednesday afternoon by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Speaking as he announced his squad, Kerry said: “This is a good opportunity for us on a number of levels. It is the earliest a GB squad has ever assembled for such a test series during an Olympic cycle and we look forward to developing a number of parts of our game playing against the World’s current number two side.
“We welcome back the presence of Crista Cullen while for a number of the younger members of the squad, such as Emily Maguire, the series will offer them further exposure to top flight hockey and a first taste of the technical skills of ‘Las Leonas’.”
In October, the squad began its Centralised Training Programme, with the coaches and athletes benefitting from more contact time as Kerry explains: “As part of our preparations for London 2012 the group has been training together on a weekly basis at Bisham Abbey. Even though it is early days in the programme there are some very good signs of gains being made and we look forward to putting those into practice against Argentina.
“Playing in Argentina is one of the most enjoyable experiences of an international career. The crowds are several thousand in number, with an amazing carnival atmosphere and I’m certain the players will benefit immensely from the occasion.”
Running from 12-18 December, the women’s series is being held to coincide with the BDO Champion’s Challenge I, an International Hockey Federation (FIH) event for the men’s teams ranked between 7th and 15th in the world.
Team Great Britain: Crista Cullen, Alex Danson, Gemma Darrington, Jo Ellis, Susie Gilbert, Rebecca Herbert, Katie Long, Kirsty Mackay, Hannah Macleod, Emily Maguire, Helen Richardson, Chloe Rogers, Natalie Seymour, Laura Unsworth, Abi Walker, Kate Walsh, Sally Walton, Nicola White.
Source: Great Britain Hockey ltd
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