Hockey: Hampstead’s Calnan ‘crazy’ about World Cup

Hampstead & Westminster's Will Calnan attacks (pic Mark Clews)

Hampstead & Westminster's Will Calnan attacks (pic Mark Clews) - Credit: Archant

Hampstead & Westminster’s Will Calnan admits it is ‘crazy’ to think he is playing in a World Cup.

Calnan, 22, was named in an 18-strong England squad by head coach Danny Kerry for the event in India, having only made his senior international debut for Great Britain in June.

And he will be lining up alongside clubmate Harry Martin, as the team take on China, Australia and Ireland in Pool B.

He said: “I was brought into the squad in January and it was incredible to make my debut in June. It’s absolutely crazy to be quite honest, it’s gone so quick.

“To be going to my first major tournament is special and I’m really excited to be part of the team. We’ve got a good bunch of guys and a new coach and we’re going to be putting our game out there against some of the best in the world.

“Hopefully I’ll try and score a few goals and help the team.

“Having Harry there and a few other mates is good. If you lose your head a bit you can have a conversation and get a bit of perspective. I’m sure there will be ups and downs.”

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Kerry led the Great Britain women to a memorable Olympic gold at the 2016 Rio Games, before taking over the men’s programme this summer.

And Calnan says he has been a big help, as he looks to make his mark on the side, adding: “Danny has been really good. He told us why he has picked us and what he likes about us and just gives you a lot of confidence.

“He wants us to go out, not think about it too much or try anything extra, but focus on our strengths. He has been really supportive.

“Some would say I’m pretty quick, running at defenders, trying to use my skills to get shots away in the D. I can’t wait to get out there and link up with the others.”

England begin against China on November 30, before a grudge match with Australia four days later and a December 7 meeting with the Irish, who appear at their first World Cup in 28 years and include Calnan’s Hampstead team-mate Chris Cargo in their squad.

And Calnan is trying not to look too far ahead with club or country, adding: “I’ve been at Hampstead for two years and we were very unfortunate last year, losing on penalties, which was pretty sore.

“It’s great to be involved with the club and the older guys there keep your head on things and keep you focused.

“I haven’t thought too much about anything other than the first match against China, putting the shirt on and singing the national anthem and hopefully getting that first shot away.

“The World Cup is a big tournament and I’m so focused on that. In the lead-up to when I first came into the programme, there were other tournaments, but my first job was to get selected for the World Cup and now it’s to perform. The Olympics are too far off to think about.

“I’m going to take it as it comes and consider myself very fortunate to be picked.”