After representing England and Great Britain on 164 occasions across nine years, Mark Gleghorne has announced he is retiring from international hockey.
The Rio 2016 Olympian revealed his decision in mid-August after believing it was ‘my time’ to step away from the sport and will take up a teaching role at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution.
Northern Irishman Gleghorne made the perfect start to his GB career by scoring on his debut in a 3-1 win over Belgium in November 2011, having switched allegiances after representing Ireland 80 times between 2004-2008, making numerous appearances alongside his younger brother Paul. He then made his England bow at the 2012 Champions Trophy a year later, scoring in just his third match in a 1-1 draw against New Zealand.
He went on to represent England at the 2014 and 2018 FIH Hockey World Cups, where the team finished fourth at the respective competitions in The Hague, Netherlands (2014) and Bhubaneswar, India (2018). He won bronze medals at both the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games and featured for Great Britain at the 2016 Olympics.
Throughout his career he also notched up an impressive 46 goals, with his immense power from penalty corners proving to be one of the biggest threats in world hockey. No better was this demonstrated than in 2017 when he helped Great Britain win the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and led England to European and Hockey World League Semi-Final bronze medals, scoring 17 goals in the process.
Injury restricted Gleghorne to just one appearance in the 2019 edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League, although he did feature in three of GB’s matches in the 2020 campaign before COVID-19 brought global sport to a stand-still.
Speaking about the decision to step away, the 35-year-old said: “I just felt that it was my time. Whilst my decision to retire wasn’t due to any one single reason, my body was a major factor.
“It’s a strange feeling - hockey has been a huge part of my life so I will definitely miss being a hockey player but I’m equally glad that I won’t have to do another fitness test!
“Winning the 2017 Azlan Shah Cup with GB and a bronze medal at Europeans in 2017 with England are my favourite memories. I feel I was playing some of my best hockey at that time and also in my opinion the team performed to our potential at the time. It was also great fun.
“I will miss the few minutes from singing the national anthem before a game and also being in the changing room after a good win. It’s hard to describe those feelings but they are very special.”
Speaking about Gleghorne, England and GB men’s head coach Danny Kerry said: “Mark quite simply was ‘all-in’. He would be first on his team-mates list for having your back and giving absolutely everything.
“It’s for those reasons that Mark has the utmost respect of his peers and coaches alike and had such incredible longevity in the international game. He will be an incredible asset in his new role back in Northern Ireland and I wish him all the best for his future career.”