George Pinner and Harry Martin relishing Euro test with England

England and GB hockey goalkeeper George Pinner at Framlingham College
Pictures by Aidan Semmens

England and GB hockey goalkeeper George Pinner at Framlingham College Pictures by Aidan Semmens EADT 27.3.12 - Credit: Aidan Semmens

George Pinner is relishing the prospect of being England’s last line of defence when the team begin their EuroHockey Championships campaign later this month.

Harry Martin

Harry Martin - Credit: Archant

The 26-year-old goalkeeper has been named in head coach Bobby Crutchley’s 18-man squad for the tournament in Belgium which starts next Saturday, along with another former Ipswich School pupil, Harry Martin.

England will play three group games against Ireland, Holland and, in their opening match on August 18, Poland, and Pinner is targeting a successul tournament for both himself and his team-mates.

“At the moment it is my spot to lose,” said Pinner who replaced the experienced James Fair after last year’s Olympics with Team GB.

“I was in goal for the World Cup qualifiers and since then we have had a tournament in Germany and a three-test series with Holland and I played in four of those six games.

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“Anything could happen though. I could have a total loss of form in the week’s training leading up to the tournament, or in the games themselves, or the other guy (James Bailey) could perform really well. I could also get injured.

“It’s nice to have pressure and nothing pushes you harder than having someone breathing down your neck, competing for your place. It’s also nice to be able to go into the tournament though knowing my coach has faith in me.”

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England will compete in Group B at the tournament with Spain, Czech Republic, Belgium and Germany set to battle it out in Group A.

The top two teams from each group go into the semi-finals with the final being held on August 25.

“We are under no illusions that if Belgium, Holland and Germany are on form, it will be tough to medal, but we go into the tournament with confidence and there is no reason why we can’t do well,” added Pinner, who was a guest on BBC Breakfast yesterday.

Meanwhile, Martin has expressed his delight at being involved at the tournament.

One of Team GB’s stars at London 2012, the 20-year-old said: “It’s very exciting and it is going to be my first European Championships.

“I am really looking forward to it and I think we have a decent chance of winning a medal.”

The tournament is being shown on the BBC red button, online and on i-player. England’s first game against Poland is on August 18 at 9am UK time.

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