Alex Danson insists the future of English hockey is bright as she prepares for her fifth Champions Trophy assault.
Danson is one of the more experienced heads in Danny Kerry's squad out in Argentina for the 2014 Champions Trophy, England getting their campaign off the ground against Australia.
The 29-year-old is one of only four survivors from the England squad that left the 2012 Champions Trophy with a silver medal before she went on to help Team GB claim bronze at the London Olympics.
And Danson believes the current crop of players has what it takes to climb the podium once again.
“We’re always learning and evolving,” she said. “Although we’ve worked with Danny Kerry previously there are always new things that come up each day.
“We’ve all thoroughly enjoyed that and the intensity has been great in the group. Replicating the efforts on the training field in the tournament should stand us in good stead.
“We have some phenomenally talented young players and I wish I was a few years younger. I can see the depth of the talent in the group which means they will achieve great results in the future.
“I see my role as no different to normal, which is a mark of how good these players are. We live by our values as a team and every individual leads by example. I’m just one of the team who tries to do that.”
Danson and co arrived in Mendoza off the back of a rollercoaster summer that saw England endure a difficult World Cup campaign, followed by the agony of missing out on a Commonwealth Games gold medal in dramatic fashion.
But Danson insists they have learnt their lessons and that the team are ready to move forward.
“The summer was emotional but sport is like that. You get the lows and the highs. It’s part and parcel of what we do,” she added.
“We’ve learned some lessons from it. We’ve been looking at the final periods of games and we’ve worked hard on the physical aspects, too. We’re very tight as a unit and you can see that around the squad on and off the pitch.
“It’s going to be interesting. Argentina at home always turn it on. Australia are in great form, the Netherlands are fantastic, anyone could get top spot.
“I’m not going to predict how we’ll do but what I will say is the work is done at training and we can hand on heart say we have given our all to get ready for this competition.
“We know what we need to do, we have a performance focus and game by game we need to do our jobs. We’ll then see where that leaves us.”
© Sportsbeat 2014