London 2012 - Jackson out of Indoor Worlds
England's hopes of success at their first FIH Indoor World Cup have been dealt a major blow by the news sharpshooter Ashley Jackson has been ruled out through injury.
Jackson has racked up 44 goals from 64 caps for England while the East Grinstead midfielder has also netted 13 times in 41 appearances for Great Britain.
But the 2009 FIH World Young Player of the Year has been struck down by a pelvic injury and has been forced to withdraw from both the World Cup in Poznan, Poland next month and the super sixes National Indoor finals at Wembley Arena this weekend.
Jackson’s presence will be sorely missed as England prepare for their first ever foray into the Indoor World Cup competition – the third of its kind – but head coach Andy Halliday believes his side have reasons for optimism as they step into the unknown.
“There is no doubt that our first trip to the Indoor World Cup will be a very tough challenge,” said Halliday.†
†“We have a group of players that will be well organised in defence, but which also has the ability to create plenty of scoring opportunities at the other end.
†“We are obviously very disappointed that Ashley Jackson will miss the World Cup.†
“His enthusiasm and suitability to the indoor game make him a significant cog in any international team but it is more important that he recovers properly from his injury.”
Four of England’s 12-man squad will be making their first international indoor appearances, despite amassing more than 600 outdoor caps between them.
Captain Barry Middleton, James Tindall of Surbiton, Reading’s Simon Mantell and Wimbledon’s Rob Moore will all make their debuts following a World Cup warm-up training camp.
Goalkeepers Nick Brothers and George Pinner and Richard Mantell, Richard Springham, Glenn Kirkham, Iain Mackay, Barry Middleton and Simon Mantell complete England’s squad.
And Halliday is hoping England’s outdoor prowess can be transferred to the indoor game.
“We don't have a great deal of indoor experience, but our outdoor hockey ability will increase our chances of success,” he added.
“With the London Olympics only 18 months away, this is another opportunity to experience high calibre competition in pressurised surroundings.† I have no doubt that we will all benefit from the experience.”†††
England faces stiff competition in Poznan having been drawn in Pool B alongside Austria, the Czech Republic, Iran, Russia and the USA.†
Four years ago in Vienna, the Czech Republic, Russia and Austria finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively in the 12 team tournament.† Germany, in Pool A with Australia, Canada, Namibia, the Netherlands and hosts Poland, are the only team to have won the Indoor World Cup, having lifted the trophy in 2003 and 2007.
England qualified for the tournament after winning Europe’s second tier competition, the EuroHockey Indoor Nations Trophy, in Poznan last January, sealing promotion to the European top flight for 2012 in the process.