On the back of the success of the England Men’s Football Team in Russia, we now turn our attentions to the Women’s World Cup – this time on home turf at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London.
But with less than three days until England’s opening game against India, maybe it’s time to have a look at the England squad due to grace the pitch at Lee Valley over the coming weeks.
Maddie Hinch – Caps: 128
The undisputed golden girl of English hockey, Maddie ‘Mad-dog’ Hinch is a force to be reckoned with. With unparalleled athleticism, speed and strength, Hinch is possibly the best goalkeeper in the world. Her mastery of shootouts has been crucial to England and Great Britain’s success, and she will be pivotal to their World Cup Campaign this summer.
Amy Tennant – Caps: 11
England have great depth in the position, with Northern lass Amy Tennant vying for pitch time at this World Cup. Formerly of Bowdon and now at East Grinstead, Tennant has proved her worth at senior level after representing England and GB in the Under 21s. Quick and agile, Tennant seems to bring a sense of fun to the squad, after being seen dancing with zebras on a zebra crossing at the Commonwealth Games.
— Maddie Hinch (@MaddieHinch) April 13, 2018
Giselle Ansley – Caps: 119
Tall and strong, Ansley is a stalwart of the English defence. Solid in the tackle and composed under pressure, her aerial ability along with her drag flick threat at the attacking end of the pitch offers England plenty of options coming into the World Cup. A Gold Medallist at Rio, Ansley is one of the more experienced players in the squad.
Grace Balsdon – Caps: 30
A relative newcomer to the squad, Balsdon’s biggest asset is her drag flick at penalty corners. Quick but solid in the tackle, Balsdon offers plenty of forward momentum as well as solidity at the back. She has been outstanding for Canterbury this year.
Kathryn Lane – Caps: 7
One of the least experienced members of the squad, Lane will be looking to earn her place in the team after a decent run out at the Commonwealth Games. Another graduate of the junior programme, Lane’s leadership qualities will be helpful to the England side, having captained the Under 21s.
Holly Pearne-Webb – Caps: 141
The most experienced defensive player after Laura Unsworth, Webb is renowned for her Rio heroics, securing Great Britain its first ever medal in women’s hockey by scoring the last goal in the penalty shootout. Strong and fearless, Pearne-Webb has cemented her place in the England defence. She will be pivotal to a successful World Cup for England.
Laura Unsworth – Caps: 224
One of the most experienced in the side, Unsworth – along with Danson – has the experience of two Olympics behind her. Unsworth’s ability to remain composed under pressure, along with her injections at attacking penalty corners, make her an important part of this squad.
Anna Toman – Caps: 36
A utility player in every sense of the word, the Wimbledon player has proved herself useful at the recent Commonwealth Games. As a holding midfielder, her dependability on the ball and ability to break down play when required will be helpful to England in their upcoming campaign.
Sarah Haycroft – Caps: 77
Haycroft’s pace and skill on the ball are assets that England will want to utilise. Part of the Investec Women’s Hockey League winning Surbiton side, Haycroft will have a lot to contribute at the World Cup.
Suzy Petty – Caps: 17
Petty has passion in droves, with endless running and pacey attacking manoeuvres quickly becoming a trademark of her game. Her strength on the ball will give England some solidity in the midfield.
Susannah Townsend – Caps: 135
An absolute powerhouse of a player, Townsend’s blistering pace on the ball with her ability to drive relentlessly at defenders, gives her the wow factor. Her goal scoring ability as well as her extraordinary vision should open up defensive units at the World Cup. One to watch.
Alex Danson – Caps: 301
With over 114 international goals to her name, Captain Alex Danson has her chance to add to the tally. England’s leading goal scorer, Danson’s infamously vicious tomahawk will be a deadly asset to the team. Her leadership and experience as the most capped player will also be pivotal. Strong in possession with a knack for scoring goals, Danson is synonymous with England’s success at this World Cup.
Sophie Bray – Caps: 123
The baby-faced assassin returns, with unbelievable pace and silky skills. As the squad’s best goal scorer behind Danson, Bray was central to England’s attack force at Rio, and it will be the same in London. Her experience of Dutch hockey at Kampong last year should have seasoned her to a more physical style of hockey, useful when facing the Dutch and German sides.
Hannah Martin – Caps: 30
An unbelievable talent. Martin’s quick hands are able to get her out of any situation with the ball. Her pace and ability to bamboozle defenders with her creativity on the ball will be extremely important in creating scoring chances for herself and her teammates in London. Keep an eye on this one.
Lily Owsley – Caps: 113
Blistering pace and strength on the ball are the trademark of Owsley’s game. Recently returning from injury, Owsley will be raring to show that she’s returned to full fitness. Ruthless and skilful, Owsley has an eye for goal, which should help England to a successful campaign.
Jo Hunter – Caps: 33
Another useful, pacey utility player, Hunter can make impacts both in the midfield and up front. Her eye for goal in the domestic game only needs to be ignited on the international scene for Hunter to make strides at this World Cup.
Ellie Rayer – Caps: 25
Another graduate of the junior programme, Rayer’s pace and solidarity on the ball make her a real threat in the attacking 25. Her tireless off the ball running has marked Rayer out, with a decent show at the Commonwealth Games. A couple of goals at the World Cup could bolster Rayer’s confidence.
Ellie Watton – Caps: 72
Narrowly missing out on the Rio squad, Watton will want to bring out her goal scoring abilities in full force for the upcoming campaign. Skilful, pacey and with an eye for goal, she should add depth and pace to England’s attacking line.