Hampstead & Westminster keeper hopes new signings gel quickly in Premier Division
- Credit: Archant
New Hampstead and Westminster goalkeeper Harry Gibson believes his new side could be dark horses in the NOW: Pension’s Men’s Hockey League Premier Division – providing all of the new arrivals click and quickly.
England Under-21 international Gibson has swapped relegated Loughborough Students for H&W this summer – one of 10 new players at the club.
New Zealand international Andy Hayward is the stand-out signing, having scored six goals at this summer’s World Cup, while Michael Johnson comes in as the new coach.
Hampstead, who play at Paddington Recreation Ground in Maida Vale, finished seventh last season and start their campaign against Wimbledon on Saturday.
Gibson admits his switch came about with long-term aims in mind, but the 21-year-old believes the team could be successful sooner rather than later.
“I’ve been settling in really well, it’s a really good set of lads and a really good environment with a good new coach,” he said. “I moved because of the amount of potential we had.
“It’s a longer-term thing, looking to the future for the next five years. But I don’t see why we can’t challenge the top teams this season if it all comes together.
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“We’ve got a really talented squad, we’ve got a lot of new people in who are good players and the coach has a lot of experience. As a new club it will be the challenge of learning as we go and gelling together well.”
Gibson will be aiming to bolster his own international ambitions having starred at the Junior European Championships in Belgium.
He not only helped his side to bronze but also picked up the award for the best goalkeeper at the tournament – and Gibson knows he is in the best place to showcase his talents.
“It’s massively important to be playing in such a top league,” he said. “I learnt a lot during my time with Loughborough Students. Especially as a goalkeeper, to get used to the international pace of hockey, you need to be playing in the top league.
“I think that really pushed me on, and my Under-21s stuff was as a result of playing in the league and getting that experience.
“As a goalkeeper it is particularly hard as there’s only one No1 and they always play, and it’s hard to know when you may get that chance. So for me I need to train hard and just progress as much as I can.”
NOW: Pensions is the official sponsor of the England Men’s Hockey League. Follow @NOWhockey or go to www.nowpensions.com