Crutchley names England squad for College Grove series against the Netherlands

WAKEFIELD BOUND: Barry Middleton will be part of the England squad to face the Netherlands in Wakefield.
WAKEFIELD BOUND: Barry Middleton will be part of the England squad to face the Netherlands in Wakefield.
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England head coach Bobby Crutchley has named his 20-man squad for the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup series against the Netherlands, which starts tomorrow at Wakefield Hockey Club.

Crutchley will bring the cream of England hockey to College Grove for the three-match series against the Olympic silver medallists, with the opening match taking place at 8pm on Thursday before the sides meet again on Saturday (4.30pm) and Sunday (2.30pm).

The triple-header, which will see England competing on home soil for the first time since the London Olympics, will form part of the team’s preparations for the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships, which start on August 17.

And England will be looking to get even with the side ranked one place above them in the world after suffering a 6-1 loss last week at the ERGO Hamburg Masters.

“We’re really pleased to get such a quality side to come and play us in our final preparations for the European championships and the team is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd for the first time since the Olympics.”

“They [the Netherlands] are obviously a top team and after hitting peak form in London, coming away with an Olympic silver medal, they have continued that high level of play. We know it will be a strong challenge but it’s one that we have to try and match and given our world rankings [Netherlands number three and England number four] it will be a good indication of where we currently are.”

He added: “If we are off our game and do not play at the right intensity then the Netherland have the potential to put a good score on you, like they did in Hamburg. They will exploit us if we are slightly off our game, but we know what we need to do better. Our individual defence will be key, along with our ability to retain possession and create and convert more goal scoring opportunities.”

Gates open at 4pm tomorrow and hockey fans will also get to see England U21s take on Malaysia U21s before the main event at 8pm.

Tickets for the series are still available and can be bought through the England Hockey ticket hotline on 08444 99 32 22 or through England Hockey’s website by clicking here.

England squad: Ben Arnold (Forward), James Bailey (Goalkeeper), Alastair Brogdon (Forward), Tom Carson (Forward), Nick Catlin (Midfielder/Forward), Darren Cheesman (Forward), David Condon (Midfielder), Adam Dixon (Midfielder/Defender), Dan Fox (Defender), Michael Hoare (Defender), Iain Lewers (Defender), Simon Mantell (Forward), Harry Martin (Midfielder), Barry Middleton (Midfielder/Forward), George Pinner (Goalkeeper), Phil Roper (Forward), Dan Shingles (Midfielder), Richard Smith (Defender), Henry Weir (Midfielder/Defender), Ollie Willars (Defender).