Wycombe's Jackson set for World Cup opener

Ashley Jackson

Ashley Jackson

First published in Sport

HIGH Wycombe-based hockey player Ashley Jackson insists it is silverware and not caps on his mind as he looks to taste success at the World Cup in The Hague starting this weekend.

The 26-year-old is on track to bring up a century of England appearances at the World Cup in the Netherlands, which runs from May 31 to June 15.

But with England yet to win gold since its introduced in 1971, Jackson, who made his England debut in November 2006 against the tournament hosts’, is desperate to put the record straight.

Jackson and England start their campaign on May 31 against Spain with further Pool A games against India, Malaysia, Belgium and reigning champions Australia.

And, with the top two teams in each pool progressing through to the semi finals, two-time Olympian Jackson is focused on hitting the ground running.

“We’re excited going into it and we’re feeling good about things,” he said. “I don’t know if 100 caps means anything to be honest it’s just a number and what would be better would be winning gold medals.

“I still get excited and this new squad we have now has a lot of new and young guys and that has probably helped some of us older guys get out of the stale run we felt before we were in London.

“I’m happy with my form. It could always be better I guess but I’m as fit as I’ve been for years. The expectation is to win the World Cup but we’re in a really tough group where any two of the four teams can get out and once they are out of the group it’s really anyone’s game in the semi-final.”

England are the second highest ranked team in Pool A behind world No.1s Australia – although Jackson and the team pipped them to World League Final bronze in Delhi back in January.

It was their first victory over the Aussies since 2010 and, with no fewer than 11 England players making their World Cup debut, Jackson believes it will act as motivation in the Netherlands.

“The win against Australia doesn’t have as much of an impact on the older players because we know what we can do and we know what we’ve done in the past,” he added.

“It’s more the younger guys that have come in and maybe when they were coming up they probably had some bad results against them.

“But beating them shows the younger ones what they are capable of and gives them confidence that they can beat the best.”

Pensions are one of the UK’s leading auto enrolment pension providers and the proud partner of England and Great Britain Men’s Hockey. Follow @NOWhockey or go www.nowpensions.com

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