The squad sees four changes from the one that finished fourth at the EuroHockey Championships this Summer. East Grinstead duo Ashley Jackson & Mark Gleghorne are back in the final 18 after injuries kept them out of Crutchley’s European squad. Jackson has successfully recovered from ankle surgery and Gleghorne from the foot injury he sustained against Argentina in the World League Semi Final in July.
The two other names coming into the squad are Patrick Smith and Tim Whiteman. Smith replaces James Bailey as the reserve goalkeeper, while Bailey focuses on the European indoor season. The tournament will see Whiteman (Beeston) make his international debut, if he plays.
The three other names omitted from this squad, who played out in Belgium are Ben Arnold, Dan Shingles and Richard Smith. Smith will be out for the whole 2014 season as he undergoes surgery on his knee.
Crutchley commented, “We are really looking forward to testing ourselves against the World’s best. The squad have been training very well in the past few months and working hard at their individual development. Like many of the teams we are short of match practice and it will be a good marker to see where we are, going into 2014.”
England Captain Barry Middleton added, “We’ve had a few months of solid training and we’re determined to put in strong performances in what will no doubt be a tough tournament.”
England have been drawn in Pool A at the World League Final and will face Olympic and European Champions Germany, world number seven side New Zealand and host nation India.
England’s first match is against hosts India on 10 January at 14:30 (UK time). All matches will be streamed live on the FIH YouTube Channel. (Full Schedule here)
World number one side Germany have been in great form this year, winning the World League Semi Final in Malaysia (where England finished third) and then going on to win EuroHockey 2013 in August. India will also be strong contenders at home and will be looking to impress their new coach, Terry Walsh.
New Zealand and India faced each other in the pool stages of their World League Semi-Final in Rotterdam. There was nothing to separate the two as they played out a 3-3 draw, however New Zealand went onto finish fourth, while India could only manage sixth in the final standings.
The other pool will see Belgium, Argentina, the Netherlands and Australia fight it out. Belgium have been one of the in-form teams this year and proved their capabilities at both the World League Semi Final, where they beat Australia in the final to take gold and then at the EuroHockey Championships where they took the silver. With World Champions Australia ranked second in the world and the Netherlands just one place behind them it’s sure to be a fascinating contest.
England Men’s Squad for the Hero Hockey World League Finals:
Alastair Brogdon – Wimbledon – Forward, Tom Carson – Reading – Forward, Nick Catlin – Reading – Midfield/Forward, David Condon – East Grinstead – Midfield, Adam Dixon – Beeston – Midfield/Defender, Dan Fox – Hampstead & Westminster – Defender, Mark Gleghorne – East Grinstead – Forward, Michael Hoare – Wimbledon – Defender, Ashley Jackson – East Grinstead – Midfield, Iain Lewers – East Grinstead – Defender, Simon Mantell – Reading – Forward, Harry Martin – Beeston – Midfield, Barry Middleton – Holcombe – Midfield/Forward, George Pinner – Beeston – Goalkeeper, Patrick Smith – Cannock – Goalkeeper, Henry Weir – Wimbledon – Midfield/Defender, Tim Whiteman – Beeston – Midfield/Defender, Ollie Willars – Beeston – Defender