Dry Doddington’s Shona McCallin insists the pressure is not off for her or any of her England team-mates ahead of the Unibet EuroHockey Championships later this month, despite Olympic qualification being secure for Team GB.
The 22-year-old midfielder was part of the British side that clinched their Rio berth thanks to a World League gold medal earlier this year in Valencia, where they won seven games, conceding just two goals in the process.
That result means England now go into the Unibet EuroHockey tournament at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park later this month – which they otherwise would have had to win – with a huge weight off their shoulders.
And while former KGGS pupil Shona is confident that performance will bode well as England go in search of another triumph, she believes that with an expectant home crowd in attendance the side cannot afford to take their foot off the pedal.
She said: “Hopefully we can cap off a really good year with the right performance at this championship.
“I wouldn’t like to think that the pressure is off us because we’ve qualified – there is always pressure when you’re playing international hockey.
“But it could’ve been a lot higher had we not qualified as obviously we’d have had to win here, but we are in front of our own fans so that creates pressure as there is an expectation on us after doing so well at the World League.
“Competition is so strong in Europe at the moment, so it’s going to be intense here, and hopefully we can come out at the end of it with a medal.
“On a personal level, my goal is of course to go to the Olympics. I’m still relatively new and this will be only my second tournament in a senior England shirt, so I’m just really happy to be involved.”
The Unibet EuroHockey Championships 2015, featuring both England’s men’s and women’ teams, takes place between August 21-30 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Tickets available at www.eurohockey2015.co.uk