Hockey: Retirement is a long way off - Barry Middleton

Barry Middleton
Barry Middleton

Barry Middleton is not thinking about hanging up his hockey stick any time soon.

The Doncaster-born midfielder, 31, is currently on international duty with Great Britain in the World Hockey League.

“I feel like the last two or three years I have probably been playing the most consistent I have done internationally,” said Middleton, the most capped England and Great Britain player of all time.

“I try and judge myself on international hockey. And I feel like I am in a good place at the moment.

“A lot of players who have been through it say the ages of 29, 30, 31 are often when you feel the best.

“I’ve been fortunate that I have not got too many injuries.

“I’m not getting any younger but I feel like I’ve got hopefully another ten years of playing hockey in me.”

Meanwhile, Middleton reckons an increased strength in depth and wealth of international experience means Great Britain are well equipped to deal with the pressure of Olympic qualification.

A top three finish in the World Hockey League will ensure they book their place at next year’s Olympic Games in Rio.

After qualifying out of their group, Great Britain were due to play their quarter-final tie yesterday.

“With London we did not have to go through qualification as we qualified automatically. You do not realise how much you take it for granted,” said Middleton.

“It’s quite a nervous time but the squad is relishing it. We want to secure qualification at the earliest opportunity, that’s the plan.

“Ashley Jackson is a massive player, one of the best in the world.

“But we are not reliant on just one player. It’s a nice mix we have in the team. We have been together a couple of years now and we have a lot of experience.

“That has not always been the case, before it was a case of maybe five or six players being experienced but now everyone has a lot of caps.”