RICHARD SMITH has embraced his added responsibility in the England Hockey team ahead of their Champions Trophy tour of Australia.
England have named an experimental squad for the trip Down Under, with six players set to make their international debuts.
The tour – starting today – will be used as an opportunity to assess new faces for the next Olympic cycle.
And former City of Portsmouth player Smith, an integral part of the Team GB Hockey team who came fourth at the London Games, is ready to lead the defence.
Smith, from Widley, said: ‘Out of the full-back partnership that played at the Olympics, I will be the only one playing in Australia, so there will definitely be responsibility on me to perform.
‘I will be one of the ones needed to lead the defence, so I’m looking forward to that and hopefully that will push forward my importance and responsibility in the team.’
Smith & Co take on Australia, India and Pakistan at the International Super Series Hockey 9s tournament in Perth.
They then travel to Melbourne for the prestigious Champions Trophy next month.
There they have been drawn with Olympic champions Germany, New Zealand and India in pool A.
Smith added: ‘We will be taking both tournaments seriously and aiming for the best possible result but we have to remain realistic in our expectations because we have got a fairly new team.’
– JEFF MARSHMAN