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Hockey: Woodford Green Preparatory students treated to visit from England men’s hockey co-captain Phil Roper

PUBLISHED: 15:00 20 March 2018

England men's co-captain Phil Roper with Woodford Green Preparatory students (pic: Denise Taylor/Woodford Green Preparatory)

England men's co-captain Phil Roper with Woodford Green Preparatory students (pic: Denise Taylor/Woodford Green Preparatory)

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Roper gave a special assembly, before taking part in training session with youngsters

England men's co-captain Phil Roper with Woodford Green Preparatory students (pic: Denise Taylor/Woodford Green Preparatory)England men's co-captain Phil Roper with Woodford Green Preparatory students (pic: Denise Taylor/Woodford Green Preparatory)

Woodford Green Preparatory pupils were treated to a special guest when England men’s hockey co-captain Phil Roper visited the school last Thursday.

The 26-year-old held a special assembly with the pupils, talking to them about his experiences in the sport.

Once the assembly was over, the group of youngsters then travelled with Roper to the nearby Old Loughtonians club for a special training session, with students from Bancroft’s also in attendance.

Roper, who plays in the English Premier Division for Wimbledon, offered guidance to the pupils as they took part in a series of drills.

England men's co-captain Phil Roper with Woodford Green Preparatory students (pic: Denise Taylor/Woodford Green Preparatory)England men's co-captain Phil Roper with Woodford Green Preparatory students (pic: Denise Taylor/Woodford Green Preparatory)

It was a day to remember for all the young kids involved, who will hopefully have been inspired by meeting one of the men’s hockey captains.

And Roper, who skippers the England team along with George Pinner and Ian Sloan, says it is important the game’s leading players in the country regularly get out to support grassroots hockey.

“England Hockey runs an appearance scheme and we all really buy into it,” said Roper, who also co-captains the Great Britain men’s team.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to give back to local clubs and schools in the community and really help them build an interest in hockey.

England men's co-captain Phil Roper with Woodford Green Preparatory students (pic: Denise Taylor/Woodford Green Preparatory)England men's co-captain Phil Roper with Woodford Green Preparatory students (pic: Denise Taylor/Woodford Green Preparatory)

“It’s important to build on the success the Great Britain women’s team had at the Olympics in Rio in 2016.”

Hockey is certainly on the up in east London and the surrounding areas, with clubs like Old Loughts and Crostyx seeing good growth.

Youngsters, like those who were with Roper on Thursday, will have likely seen the success of the national teams in recent years.

This summer sees the Women’s World Cup take place at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre in Stratford, and Roper knows it is key for the national teams maintain their success to continue to inspire the next generation.

“There’s hopefully more and more role models in the sport now, especially after the GB women’s team doing amazingly well at the Olympics in 2016,” he added.

“It was a shame that the men couldn’t do as well at those Games, but they’ve created more role models, people who are there to inspire young children to pick up a stick, get down to their local club and crack on with hockey.”


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