Coach Jason Lee describes his players as “gutsy”, but the new coach might be surprised to find that under the disciplined and committed veneer displayed by England women’s squad as they prepare for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, there lies a bunch of players with a passion for cheesy pop music and one particularly amazing party trick.
In an interview for England Hockey TV, members of the England women’s hockey team reveal that among their musical tastes are S Club 7, the Spice Girls and Tina Turner, and the majority of the players would prefer a pet dog over a pet cat. Perhaps more surprising is that Steph Elliot – a relative newcomer to the squad – is viewed by many of her colleagues as the most aggressive player and, even more impressively, midfielder Susie Gilbert can tie a knot in a strawberry lace – a stringy-like confectionary – with her tongue.
On the question of superheroes, Kate Richardson-Walsh identifies most with the superhero, Superwoman. More of a mystery is the reason she gives. No, it is not that pain-defying moment when she played at the 2012 Olympics with a broken jaw, it is because of Superwoman’s ‘pants’.
When it comes to setting the dance floor alight, the players were divided over whether Sam Quek or Ashleigh Ball had the best moves, although Sam did admit that ‘getting low to the dance floor’ was one of her secret talents. When it comes to break dancing, goalkeeping duo Kirsty Mackay and Maddie Hinch demonstrated that they were no slouches.
The person most of the squad would least like to share a room with was revealed as Susannah Townsend, although as she admitted to being a secret Thai boxer, and was easily persuaded to belt out the Karaoke version of the Cardigans “Say that you love me”, that was not so difficult to understand. Even more understandable was Alex Danson’s reluctance to share a room with goalkeepers “because of their smelly kit.”
Given three items to take to a deserted island, secret surf dude, Alex Danson, would take her surfboard, a book and a friend, captain Kate Richardson-Walsh would set up a cocktail bar with her bottle of vodka, a mixer and a cocktail shaker, and most of the team would choose from the Apple store – with i-phones, i-pods and i-pads voted the most popular items.
All of which means, that while the coaching team are getting to know their players strengths and weaknesses on the pitch, the players know exactly who to turn to for dance moves and cocktails when the Rabobank Hockey World Cup has drawn to a close.