Strike ace Alex is back in the game
WHILE the future of Great Britain men’s star Ashley Jackson remains up in the air, Monday will mark the return to women’s national squad duties of Alex Danson, the Olympic gold medalist and The Hockey Paper columnist.
Unlike Jackson, who has said he hopes to return to the fold in April, Danson had always planned for her post-Olympic break to end with the arrival of spring and instead of heading to work, or to speak at another school function, the highscoring striker will next week be heading to Bisham to join up formally with her team-mates for the first time since Rio.
She will discover a different landscape for although coach Danny Kerry remains in charge, assistants Craig Keegan and Karen Brown have moved on and there are a dozen or more new faces to meet and greet among the playing squad.
“It’s my last week of work and doing all those bits and pieces," she told The Hockey Paper.
“I’ve missed being part of the squad but I’ve not felt too removed because I’ve been in and around Bisham quite a bit because it’s my nearest venue for training,” said Danson, who lives in nearby Maidenhead.
“But I did need time away and it has been a nice balance.
“My New Year resolution was to spend more time having cups of tea with friends and family and I’ve totally done that.
“When you are in full time training you have to be much more careful with your time.”
She won’t be on duty for Clifton Robinsons as her club side head to Beeston for their Investec Cup semifinal for two reasons: firstly, she has not played in previous rounds and would not feel right about swooping in at this stage and, secondly, she wants an early night before her ‘real’ job resumes.
Great Britain’s men will compete in the 26th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, which takes place from April 27 to May 6 in Ipoh, Malaysia.
The high-quality event will feature teams from Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, hosts Malaysia and Bobby Crutchley’s men.
Last year, seven teams took part but Canada and Pakistan have been ditched for 2017 and Great Britain invited instead.
The National League’s Finals Weekend take place on April 22-23.
Welcome return: Rio golden girl Alex Danson is back in international contention