Dan Fox may be the oldest member of England’s Hockey World Cup squad but he believes a blend of both youth and experience will be the key to success in The Hague.
The 31-year-old made his international debut back in 2009 and picked up Champions Trophy silver in 2010 in between two fourth-place finishes at the World Cup and Commonwealth Games.
This year’s World Cup in the Netherlands runs from Saturday to June 15 with England searching for their first win in 13 attempts and just second ever medal after silver in 1986.
Of the team from four years ago just six remain, Fox included, while 11 will be making their debut but he believes the current blend could prove to be a winning formula.
“Preparations have all gone well, especially compared to how it all was four years ago when we were brought in for the odd weekend or a few days here and there,” said Fox.
“We’re very well prepared and there’s an interesting mix of people who have played 20 or 30 times and then people like [captain] Barry [Middleton] who have hundreds of caps.
“I’m the oldest bloke in the team now which is very strange and a lot different to when I first started. I think what is really valuable is that a lot of us have played in big games.
“And the more you are exposed to that the better you’ll be at it. Without the new faces though and the people who are desperate to get there and their enthusiasm then you don’t necessarily have the right motivation and mix of characters.
“A medal for us would be a massive success bearing in mind how new this squad is. I think we could get into the semi-finals and you never know from there what’s going to happen.”
England open their campaign on Saturday against Spain before further Pool A games against India, Malaysia, reigning champions Australia and Belgium.
The top two teams progress to the semi-finals but despite beating Australia to take World League Final bronze in January, Fox knows there is not just one team to be wary of.
“Australia play attacking hockey, it’s always a great game against them and very competitive,” he added. “Last time we played them we beat them in the World League to win a bronze medal but they are a top side.
“Looking beyond that Holland and Germany are ranked above us and then you’ve got Belgium and Spain who are a couple of other tough sides. There are no easy games.”
© Sportsbeat 2014