Bees fly to India for Junior World Cup

James Albery

Beeston and England U21

Robbie Gleeson

Beeston and England U21

Chris Proctor

Beeston and England U21

Tom Sorsby

Beeston and England U21

England’s U21s are all set for the opening match of their Junior World Cup campaign in Lucknow, India. The 16 best U21 teams on the planet are all assembled in India ready to go toe to toe in pursuit of glory. 

England Head Coach Jon Bleby has named a strong squad to compete in the tournament which has England in the same pool as hosts India, Canada and South Africa.

Beeston have strong representation in the squad with James Albery, Robbie Gleeson, Chris Proctor and Tom Sorsby all travelling to India.

The tournament begins on 8 December with the opening match between New Zealand and Japan. England’s first fixture is against South Africa at 10am UK time on the same day. That is followed up with England’s clash against the hosts two days later at 1330 UK time before Bleby’s team round off their pool matches on 12 December against Canada at 0430 UK Time.

England, the European bronze medallists have named a strong side for Lucknow, featuring 14 of the athletes who came fourth at the recent Sultan of Johor Cup. Will Calnan and Jack Clee both scored three goals each at the tournament and will feature at the Junior world Cup. Jonty Griffiths, James Albery, Chris Proctor and James Gall, the captain, are competing in their second successive Junior World Cup, having all been part of the squad that finished 14th three years ago in New Delhi.

England’s pool stage rivals are not without their quality. India, the champions of Asia are considered as one of the favourites for the title in Lucknow. The team includes senior internationals Harmanpreet Singh and Mandeep Singh. With over 60 senior international appearances, 21-year-old striker Mandeep is the most experienced player of the squad, having represented his country at numerous major events including the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 and the Hero Hockey Champions Trophy 2016.

Canada qualified despite a slow start at the Junior Pan-Am Championship on home soil. They lost their opener before winning four successive matches to seal a place in the competition final. They lost out to Argentina but they had done enough to secure their Junior World Cup ticket. Team captain Brandon Pereira and Kabir Aujla both scored four times for Canada on the way to their silver medal whilst 16-year-old Rowan Childs is the youngest player in the competition.

South Africa will compete in their fifth successive Junior World Cup. Ace striker Nqobile Ntuli, Tevin Kok, Charles Bowren and team captain Alex Stewart have all represented South Africa’s senior team, experience which could prove vital in their Junior World Cup campaign.

England’s Head Coach Bleby said:

“We are really excited and looking forward to the challenge of the Junior World Cup. As a group we will strive individually & collectively to learn as much from the experience as we possibly can and carefully taking one game at a time our goal is to win every game. The Junior World Cup is always an extremely tough tournament but I strongly believe we have selected a very skilful & hard working group who are good to go.”

You can follow the tournament via the FIH Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags #HJWC2016 and #RockTheJuniors.

All the tournament information is on the FIH website which you can visit here.

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