Rabobank Hockey World Cup: Susannah Townsend believes England are among best
Last Updated: 29/05/14 3:05pm
England midfielder Susannah Townsend is relishing the opportunity of playing in her first Rabobank Hockey World Cup after narrowly missing out on London 2012.
Despite making her international debut in 2008 as a 19-year-old, Townsend being one of a cluster of players from the Central Programme for whom the London Olympics came too soon.
However, the Reading star has since put the disappointment of her non-selection behind her and become an integral member of Jason Lee’s England side.
The rankings don’t lie. We’ve performed consistently over the last couple of years and picked up medals in every tournament so we go into every tournament aiming to make the podium, the World Cup is no different.
The 38-cap international is now looking forward to making her World Cup debut as England get their campaign underway against the United States on Sunday, although Townsend is keen to see how her male compatriots fare against Spain on Saturday.
“It’s great that it’s the men’s and the women’s competitions together, it makes it more of an exciting tournament, especially in Holland where the interest in hockey is massive,” she told the official website of England Hockey.
“With Sky covering the competition and the increased following, the team is getting it’s a good chance for us to show people what we can do.
“The publicity is already starting to build up and we have a good a chance so it’s really exciting.”
Townsend revealed the heartache of missing out on selection for the Olympics on home soil, but concedes she may not have been prepared for the elite stage.
“Not going to London was devastating at the time but with hindsight my defensive game wasn’t ready,” she added.
“My attacking game was probably just about there but you need to be an all-round player to compete in those tournaments. I think starting the new cycle was good for me.
“My defending has come on a lot and I’m continuing to improve all the time. I’m really enjoying myself, too. It’s important to enjoy it or there’s no point.”
Former Canterbury playmaker Townsend picked up a EuroHockey Championship silver medal with England last year and admits there are numerous threats when it comes to international competitions.
“Australia have done well the last couple of years,” she claimed. “They’ve been building since before London and it’s a big aim for them to win the tournament.
“To be honest every team in a competition of this quality is a threat. Anyone can beat anyone on their day which is why you have to stay focused and take it game by game.”
England travel to The Hague ranked third in the world and Townsend believes their recent form proves they are able to compete with the best.
“The rankings don’t lie,” she added. “We’ve performed consistently over the last couple of years and picked up medals in every tournament so we go into every tournament aiming to make the podium, the World Cup is no different.
“There are 12 top teams there and we have a really tough group, but if we perform like we can then we're perfectly capable of picking up medal.”
Watch Sky Sports 3HD's live coverage of the Rabobank World Cup from 9am on Saturday