Hockey: New caps boost GB team

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The Great Britain coach, Mike Gilbert, has announced his first selections for a Four Nations tournament in Virginia Beach, USA, featuring Japan, Germany and the host nation.

While seven of the squad will be winning their first GB caps, all but the 18-year-old Crista Cullen are seasoned internationals. Half of the squad then move on to Buenos Aires for a Three Nations event, with Argentina and possibly China, both of whom have prequalified for Athens.

They will be joined by eight of the highly experienced England squad who, with the exception of Leisa King who has 94 caps, have all made in excess of 100 appearances.

These eight are likely to be the nucleus of the GB side for the Olympic Qualifier in New Zealand next March. Two more experienced England players, Denise Marston-Smith and Helen Richardson, both Sydney Olympians who are recovering from injuries, are in contention.

Gilbert said: "The tournaments provide an environment that allows the squad to integrate and perform under competitive conditions, affording the ability to assess and develop GB players and team play, and increase momentum for Athens 2004."