Hockey: Dancer takes slow steps in preparation for the revolution

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The Independent Online
A revolution in English hockey is underway following the arrival of two Australians to head up elite coaching and the advent of Lottery funds from the World Class Performance programme.

The Australian Barry Dancer, England's recently appointed national coach, has announced his first senior squad selection, which numbers 27, for a training week and two games against Italy next month in Sicily. It has long been an Australian concept for large training squads based on their Sports Academy set-ups.

The down side of the exercise is that all the old names have been trotted out with only two uncapped players being chosen: Jon Ebsworth, Teddington's goalkeeper, and Mike Johnson, the Cannock midfield player, both teenage students at Birmingham University. Ten members of the British squad who finished seventh at the Atlanta Olympics are included.

The surprise omission of any players from Canterbury, who are second in the Premier Division of the National League, was simply because Dancer has not yet been able to see them play since he has only been in Britain for a short time. The team manager, Dave Whittle, said that there were five Canterbury players under consideration.

Eight members of the Premier leaders, Cannock, have been chosen, including a recall for Kalbir Takher. He has not been in the international squad since the Atlanta Olympics.

Missing from the squad after undergoing an operation is the goalkeeper David Luckes.

ENGLAND SQUAD: S Mason, J Wyatt, S Ashdown, M Pearn (Reading), B Barnes, S Head (E Grinstead), B Crutchley, A Humphrey, M Johnson, J Lewis, C Mayer, Kalbir Takher, J Pidcock and B Sharpe (Cannock), G Fordham (Hounslow), R Garcia, J Halls (HDM, The Hague), B Garrard, J Ebsworth, J Wallis (Teddington), C Giles (Klein Zwitserland, The Hague), D Hall (Guildford), J Lee, N Thompson (Old Loughtonians), A Simons, B Waugh, D Woods (Southgate). Coach: B Dancer, Manager: D Whittle.