Ahead of a big two years for England and GB Hockey, we caught up with hockey star and Commonwealth Games England athlete Board representative Alex Danson to discuss the Commonwealth Games, the national anthem debate and the growth of Hockey.

TE: What are your memories of the Commonwealth Games?

AD: I remember my first Games in Melbourne – which was also my first multi-sport event – and getting my selection letter was an incredible moment. There is something so special about the Commonwealth Games, with it being multi-sport and as well as being a part of your own sports’ team, you are also a part of something bigger; Team England.

Glasgow was like a home-from-home and my family was able to come and watch. Unfortunately we lost out in the last 11 seconds of the Final to Australia so it was a bit bittersweet.

TE: Are you aiming for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games?

AD: I would love to go for one more Commonwealth Games – which is also the same year as our World Cup – so if I can get another few years out of my body that would be amazing.

I think the Gold Coast will be an incredible Games. Melbourne was my first and they did it so well so I expect the Gold Coast will be equally, if not more spectacular.

It will also be a chance for us to take on the Aussies in their own back yard and seek revenge.

TE: What are your thoughts on the current national anthem debate?

AD: There is something special about having a song that identifies with your nation so singing ‘Jerusalem’ is quite special.  It’s also the pride of singing it together that is important and unites the country so I don’t mind what it is, as long as it represents Team England.

TE: It’s an exciting time for England and GB Hockey what are you looking forward to?

AD: Hockey really is on the up and we have the Champions Trophy coming up this summer in London where we put together an incredible tournament and have lots of Televised games. It’s the top teams in the world, coming together to compete where the Hockey was for London 2012 and it gives us the chance to relive all those wonderful memories.

There are a lot of young people now playing the sport and I think that it is down to the success the team has had, the fact that we have a very good NGB and are able to host big events is a key factor in the success and growth of the sport.

We have some really fantastic younger talent coming through now and I think that having had a couple of years in the senior team they are turning into some hugely promising talent.

Tickets are now available for this year’s Women’s Champions Trophy at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on 18-26 June 2016. http://www.greatbritainhockey.co.uk/news.asp?itemid=34413&itemTitle=FIH+confirm+teams+and+schedule+for+Women%92s+Hockey+Champions+Trophy&section=1044

England Hockey has been nominated for Governing Body of the Year at the BT Sport Industry Awards.