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Hampstead & Westminster's Calnan delighted to earn England call for EuroHockey Championships

PUBLISHED: 09:20 15 August 2019

England's Will Calnan (pic England Hockey)

England's Will Calnan (pic England Hockey)

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Hampstead & Westminster's Will Calnan was delighted to be picked to represent England at the EuroHockey Championships in Belgium which start on Friday.

The 23-year-old was named in an 18-strong squad by head coach Danny Kerry, along with clubmate Harry Martin, for the tournament in Antwerp.

And he is ready for the challenge of facing some familiar faces in the Wales team, as well as Belgium and Spain in the group phase.

He said: "I'm really excited to be picked. The Euros will be tough as there are great teams involved.

"I've been playing with and against some of the Wales guys for a long time, Rupert Shipperly, Steve Kelly, Rhodri Furlon. It will be a strange first game but nothing too new.

"Belgium are the best in the world and will have home crowd advantage, but we've played in front of crowds before and there's not too much pressure on us. We will just try and play our game

"We had a good camp in Spain recently. You can be results-focused at times but it wasn't our aim, we were working on a few things and it was a good feisty game against Spain. It will be a great contest."

The EuroHockey Championships serves as a qualifier for Tokyo 2020 and if England win the tournament, their Great Britain counterparts will qualify for next year's Olympics.

If not, GB will play in a two-legged winner-take-all qualifier at home in November of this year.

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A good performance in these Euros will have an impact on world ranking points, which would in turn play a part in which opposition GB would face in the Olympic qualifiers.

But Calnan says they cannot look too far ahead at this point, adding: "The Olympics is the final big tournament in the cycle, but all thoughts for now are on the Euros.

"It's hard to keep that on the back burner at times, but we are just focused on our first game at the Euros

I" feel with each game I'm more and more comfortable, getting more touches on the ball.

"I'm getting more familiar with the team around me and that's making me feel more comfortable.

"You feel the guys have your back more, which is really important and the more games I play the better."

Calnan, who has 23 international caps to his name, admitted it was also good to see clubmate Martin in the squad.

The 26-year-old will be appearing in his fourth EuroHockey Championships, having won bronze two years ago, and is a two-time Olympian with no fewer than 215 caps under his belt.

He added: "Harry, what he has done is incredible. I remember looking up to him when I was younger and now he's a good mate of mine.

"We can talk about things other than hockey, go and have a coffee, but I know I can also get sound advice from him."

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