As he looks to the future, Head Coach Danny Kerry has rewarded a number of his younger players with the opportunity to experience a major world level tournament for the first time; five of the squad made their senior England debuts against Germany in October 2008 with newcomer Nicola White also stepping out for the first time against Germany just last weekend.
At the other end of the experience scale, six of the squad - Beth Storry, Kate Walsh, Helen Richardson, Chloe Rogers, Alex Danson and Jo Ellis - played for Great Britain at the Beijing Olympic Games.
Explaining the selection, Kerry said: “The selection reflects performance over the preparation camps and international matches we have completed. We all look forward to the first Champions Trophy England have competed in since 2003. Playing against the top sides in the world at a major tournament will provide valuable experience as we build a competitive group over the Olympic cycle.”
England’s place at the Champions Trophy was secured as a result of Great Britain’s sixth place finish at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games but, ranked eighth in the world, they will face a tough time in Sydney as they take to the pitch against the five best nations on the planet.
During the nine day tournament, England will face the reigning World and Olympic Champions the Netherlands, European Champions Germany, Olympic bronze medallists and 2008 Champions Trophy winners Argentina, hosts Australia and Olympic silver medallists China.
With a squad whose average age is just 24, Kerry is under no illusions of the task that faces his young team in Sydney: “We very much hope to use the Champions Trophy as development ahead of the European Championships in Amsterdam in August because that’s a World Cup qualification event. We will try to play a tight game but with many of the teams in a period of transition like ourselves, predicting results is an almost impossible task.”
England set off for Sydney on Tuesday safe in the knowledge that their participation in the 2010 tournament is already guaranteed. As the host nation of next year’s Women’s Champions Trophy, from 10-18 July 2010, England qualifies automatically for the tournament at Highfields Sports Club in Nottingham.
England Squad for the Samsung Hockey Champions Trophy – Women 2009 Sydney
Name (Club) [Position] Eng Caps/Eng Goals Age
Becky Duggan (Trojans) [Goalkeeper] 25/0 26
Beth Storry (SCHC) [Goalkeeper ] 38/0 31
Gemma Darrington (Leicester) [Defender] 6/0 22
Natalie Seymour (Canterbury) [Defender] 15/0 22
Chloe Strong (Pinoke) [Defender] 7/1 25
Laura Unsworth (Loughborough Students) [Defender] 5/0 21
Kate Walsh (SCHC) Defender 141/28 29
Sally Walton (Bowdon Hightown) [Defender] 44/6 28
Ashleigh Ball (Slough) [Midfielder] 7/0 23
Susie Gilbert (University of Birmingham) [Midfielder] 8/1 20
Helen Richardson (Den Bosch) [Midfielder] 104/11 27
Chloe Rogers (Leicester) [Midfielder] 56/6 24
Kerry Williams (Leicester) [Midfielder/Forward] 23/1 23
Alex Danson (Klein Zwitserland) [Forward] 82/19 24
Jo Ellis (Bowdon Hightown) [Forward] 22/2 26
Beckie Herbert (Kampong) [Forward] 47/3 22
Katie Long (Leicester) [Forward] 8/2 21
Nicola White (Loughborough Students) [Forward] 2/0 21
England’s Champions Trophy Fixtures
Date - Time (local) - Fixture
Saturday 11 July - 11:05 - Netherlands v England
Sunday 12 July - 11:05 - England v Germany
Wednesday 15 July - 20:05 - Argentina v Germany
Thursday 16 July - 20:05 - England v Australia
Saturday 18 July - 11:05 - China v England
Sunday 19 July - TBC - Classification Match
photos Janos Schmidt