England has named a provisional squad of 17 players for hockey’s Hero Honda FIH World Cup in Delhi with Head Coach Jason Lee having left the door open for either Reading’s Simon Mantell or Surbiton’s James Tindall to fill the final place in the 18 athlete squad.
Both players are currently undergoing treatment for broken feet but with Lee keen to include one of the pair in his squad they will be given as long as possible to prove their fitness in time for the tournament, which gets underway on Sunday 28 February.
The squad is largely unchanged from that which won the EuroHockey Nations Championships in August 2009 with Loughborough Students’ Nick Catlin the only addition to that group. His excellent performances for England U21s and during his senior England debut at the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy in Melbourne in December have earned him his World Cup call up at the age of 20.
Forward Matt Daly has recovered from the injury that kept him out of the Champions Trophy while experienced defender Ben Hawes returns to the side having missed the Champions Trophy as Lee offered the development opportunity to his younger players.
Explaining the situation surrounding the 18th position, Lee said: “The final position will be filled towards the end of February as we wait for the recovery of James Tindall and Simon Mantell. James broke his foot during the Champions Trophy and Simon during an England Hockey League Men’s Premier Division match. It is a great pity that these two have sustained their injuries at this time, especially given that they have been consistent performers for England and Great Britain over the past few years.
“It is our preference that one of them will fill the last place given their previously high performance standards. We will be giving both of them as much time as possible to gain an appropriate fitness level, although neither of them will have played much hockey before the start of the World Cup.”
Prior to departing for the team’s preparation camp in Qatar midway through February, Lee will take his team to Cadiz to take on Spain later this month before returning to Spain in early February to face the Netherlands, although those matches will be uncapped and take place behind closed doors.
Speaking about the squad’s preparation for Delhi, Lee said he is pleased with how England’s players have used the indoor season to boost their outdoor skills and fitness levels. “The winter conditions will be making it difficult for the players to progress their physical conditioning effectively at the moment,” said Lee. “Luckily, we had already decided to concentrate on indoor hockey at this time of the year and the players have been performing excellently indoors. Hopefully the England indoor team, containing eight of players picked for the World Cup, will continue their good form at this weekend’s EuroHockey Indoor Nations Trophy.”
Team England Hero Honda FIH World Cup: Richard Alexander, Alastair Brogdon, Nick Brothers, Nick Catlin, Jonty Clarke, Matt Daly, Adam Dixon, James Fair, Ben Hawes, Ashley Jackson, Glenn Kirkham, Iain Mackay, Richard Mantell, Barry Middleton, Rob Moore, Richard Smith, Alastair Wilson.
Plus one of the following two players to be included as the 18th squad member in late February depending on fitness tests: Simon Mantell, James Tindall.
Source: England Hockey
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