Hockey: England ready for tough start

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The Independent Online
England open their Junior World Cup programme this morning at the Milton Keynes National Stadium against Japan. Jon Royce, the England coach, is not known for making predictions but he will be aware that, if his team is to reach Friday week's semi-finals, they must achieve convincing results in their opening games.

"We have prepared as professionally as possible, but compared to some of the other sides we lack a degree of experience," Royce said.

Royce's preparations have been handicapped by injuries to key players, but the good news is that he will be able to select from a fully-fit squad.

ENGLAND SQUAD: B Garrard (unattached, capt), J Evennett, S Humphries, D Mathews, P Wicken (all Canterbury), M Pearn, Manpreet Kochar (both Reading), M Johnson (Cannock), J Ebsworth, D Hayden (both Teddington), N Taylor (Hounslow), A Simons (Southgate), A Boyse (Lewes), T Matthews, R Irvine (Oxford Univ), R Stamp (Beeston).

- Bill Colwill