Wimbledon Guardian's new hockey column: Henry on hockey
On Tuesday it was confirmed that I will be going to the World Cup later this month as part of England’s 18-man squad, along with my Wimbledon Hockey Club team-mates Alastair Brogdon and Michael Hoare.
It is a special feeling to know we are going to Holland to represent our country, and from a personal perspective I’m thrilled to be selected after almost two months out with injury and a gruelling rehabilitation programme – more of which below.
The tournament in The Hague, which runs from May 31 until June 15, will be my first World Cup. I have been in the squad for just over a year now, having been drafted in just after the London Olympics in 2012, as part of a raft of players to mark a new generation.
I’m 24 now and looking forward to hopefully playing for England for many more years – and this summer should be fascinating as we also have the Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow, shortly after the World Cup.
There is a great buzz in the camp at the moment. With an injection of youth we know we have the potential to win medals – sooner rather than later, if we are lucky.
It’s great to share this feeling with two club colleagues, with whom I have a fantastic bond; hopefully our collective experience will benefit Wimbledon next season and beyond.
We found out the news about the England squad selection via email which was quite nerve-racking, particularly for me as I had been in a race against time to return to full fitness since rupturing my right ankle in a freak training ground accident, when I was clipped by another player’s foot, about eight weeks ago.
I underwent an intensive six-week rehabilitation course which involved hyperbaric therapy, and meant 14 consecutive days of 90-minute sessions in an oxygen chamber.
It’s really claustrophobic and uncomfortable – you wear a mask and it’s like being in a tiny submarine. And you are not allowed to listen to music, or have any electrical items around, as one spark could create a massive explosion.
Fellow international: Henry Weir's England and Wimbledon colleague Michael Hoare
With my final exams at Loughborough University looming I started studying to pass the time, but I found it very hard to concentrate and by the end I’d resorted to sudoku puzzles.
It was hellish, but it did the trick: I made my comeback appearance in the 3-3 draw with the Netherlands on May 3, coming off the bend to win my 37th cap for England. That showing must have convinced the coaches that I could feature at the World Cup.
I was so pleased that Alastair was chosen, too – partly because we live together near Maidenhead and it would have been awkward if one of us had been overlooked.
To celebrate I went for a lovely Korean meal in London with my long-term girlfriend Laura, who plays for the women’s team at Wimbledon. It was rather low-key, though, as I’ve had my head down with my studies.
I’m in my final year of a sports science degree at Loughborough – where I met Laura, who graduated a couple of years ago – and I handed in my dissertation the other week. I have my final exam, however, on May 27 – the same day we are supposed to be flying out to Holland.
Ideally I want to arrive in The Hague with a clear head, done and dusted with my degree, so I might fly out after the exam rather than postponing it.
That way I can solely concentrate on what should be an incredible summer with England – and hopefully a medal or two.
NOW: 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
Comments are closed on this article.