England name FIH Hockey Pro League squads as fans return to stands
- Credit: PA
England’s men and women have named their squads for this weekend’s FIH Hockey Pro League games - the first international matches in front of a home crowd for two and a half years.
The teams have four exciting matches ahead of them this weekend at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The men play France at 1pm on Saturday, with the women taking on China at 3.30pm.
And Sunday sees the men starting against the French at midday, while the women's match with their Chinese rivals is at 2.30pm.
The men will be represented by a 20-strong squad over the two days, containing eight players who played for Team GB in last summer’s Olympics.
There are four changes to the squad from the previous matches in Germany, with Liam Ansell, James Gall and Stuart Rushmere returning, while Hampstead & Westminster's Matt Ramshaw earns a first call-up.
A total of 22 women have been selected for their matches with China, with 10 of them having won bronze in last summer’s Olympic Games.
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There is a very welcome return for Shona McCallin as she plays for the first time this season, while Giselle Ansley, Sabbie Heesh and Martha Taylor are also back.
Tickets for both days are available at hockey.seetickets.com, with a ticket to watch two matches in one day starting at £7.50 for children and £17.50 for adults. Tickets will also be available on the day of the game at the venue.
The last home international matches in England in front of a crowd were back in November 2019 when Great Britain played in Olympic Qualifiers, marking an incredible 931 days without supporters on home soil.
Men’s interim head coach Zak Jones said: "The squad are very much looking forward to this block of Pro League fixtures and are incredibly excited to be back on home turf for the first time in a while, and even more excited to have fans back in the stadium.
"Whilst we know that a strong and improving French side will pose a real threat, we will look to continue to build our core game, as well as further develop our winning mindset, whilst at the same time showcasing the attacking intent, talent and passion of the squad."
Jones will continue to lead the programme as interim head coach through all of England’s home Pro League fixtures, before new head coach Paul Revington formally takes up his role later in June.
Women’s head coach David Ralph is also very much looking forward to the weekend, adding: "This is the start of an intense and exciting period for us, culminating in three tournaments over the summer with the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and EuroHockey Qualifiers.
"This stretch of home Pro League games provides us with a series of very competitive games and the opportunity to continue our growth as a team. We are very much looking forward to the games this weekend and welcoming China back to Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre.
"It is great to be back playing some home games and there is no doubt that we are incredibly excited to be playing in front our home support, we have really missed the feeling and buzz we all get from playing in front of our fans."
Squads, England men: James Albery (Old Georgians), Liam Ansell (Wimbledon), Nick Bandurak (Holcombe), Will Calnan (Hampstead & Westminster), David Condon (Wimbledon), Brendan Creed (Royal Beerschot), James Gall (Surbiton), David Goodfield (Surbiton), Chris Griffiths (Old Georgians), James Mazarelo (GK, Loughborough Students), Ollie Payne (GK, Holcombe), Matt Ramshaw (Hampstead & Westminster), Stuart Rushmere (Loughborough Students), Ian Sloan (Wimbledon), Peter Scott (Wimbledon), Rhys Smith (Wimbledon), Tom Sorsby (Surbiton), Sam Taylor (University of Exeter), Jack Turner (Wimbledon), Sam Ward (Old Georgians).
England women: Giselle Ansley (HGC), Grace Balsdon (Hampstead & Westminster), Darcy Bourne (Surbiton), Fiona Crackles (Wimbledon), Olivia Hamilton (Loughborough Students), Sophie Hamilton (Surbiton), Sabbie Heesh (GK, Surbiton), Tess Howard (East Grinstead), Holly Hunt (Hampstead & Westminster), Alex Malzer (East Grinstead), Hannah Martin (THC Hurley), Shona McCallin, Lizzie Neal (Canterbury), Lily Owsley (HDM), Hollie Pearne-Webb (C, Wimbledon), Flora Peel (HDM), Izzy Petter (Loughborough Students), Miriam Pritchard (GK, University of Exeter), Ellie Rayer (East Grinstead), Martha Taylor (University of Exeter), Laura Unsworth (East Grinstead), Lily Walker (University of Birmingham).