Ashley Jackson insists he and his England teammates cannot afford to look past the here and now with next week’s EuroHockey Championships fast approaching.
Earlier this summer Jackson and Great Britain successfully qualified for next year’s Olympic Games after finishing third at the World League Semi Final.
It means the pressure of the team reaching Rio has been eased, but selection for individual places is still very much hanging over the team.
Jackson, however, is adamant the players will not be letting it consume them, insisting the main job at hand is their very next tournament, starting in London’s Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre next Friday.
England finished fourth at the 2013 EuroHockey Championships while back in 2009 Jackson was part of the side which took gold.
And with home support on their side this time around, the England stalwart insists the players will be doing all they can to return to the top spot on the podium.
“Everyone is desperate to impress but to be fair they always are no matter what is coming up really,” he said.
“The players turn up and try and impress every day in training and worry about that day rather than what is coming.
“You could have been talking about Rio since 2012 and you would have missed two European Cups a World Cup and whatever else has happened between then.
“If you are only working for one tournament every four years then that tournament could not go very well and that’s the end of your world.
“Qualifying for Rio takes the pressure off a bit because I wouldn’t wish it on anyone to come to the Euros knowing you have to win. It’s a very tough competition.
“The pressure is there to perform but it is no more or less than we put on ourselves in training every day.”
The 27-year-old was named Player of the Tournament the last time England were crowned European champions in 2009 and he will be looking to have a similar impact this time around.
Jackson has plenty of international pedigree and is Great Britain’s leading scorer with 120 goals in 210 matches but he says the plaudits for individual performances are secondary to helping the team win matches.
“I don’t go into matches looking for milestones because you just go into matches looking for gold medals,” he added.
“Ultimately that is what you will be remembered for so the more you can win as a team the greater the legacy you will leave behind.
“The individual stuff is nice but I’ve always said that I want to be the best player in the world and that’s because I think that will help the team.”
The Unibet EuroHockey Championships 2015, featuring both England’s men’s and women’ teams, takes place between 21-30 August at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Tickets available at www.eurohockey2015.co.uk
© Sportsbeat 2015