Tim Whiteman is desperate to make the most of an unlikely second chance and help lead Great Britain to Hockey World League Semi-Final success.
The former Harleston Magpies player looked set to miss out on the major tournament in Antwerp, Belgium after being omitted from the original 18-man squad by head coach Bobby Crutchley.
However, after Reading’s Dan Shingles was forced to withdraw through injury, Whiteman is now in line to feature in Great Britain’s opening Pool B encounter against the hosts on Sunday (3pm), an opportunity he is relishing.
“I am definitely delighted to be back in the squad,” he said. “I’m thrilled but I feel for Dan because he was playing so well and deserved his place.
“When I received the news I wasn’t in the squad I was gutted but I went away, worked really hard and now I’m desperate to take my chance; I won’t look back.
“There is more competition than ever to be selected and recently I had a dip in form so I didn’t disagree with the decision. I have played well in major tournaments before but if your level of consistency isn’t right then someone will come in and take your place.
“I now have a massive second chance and I know I have to perform if selected.
“There is that little bit of added importance for me because I wasn’t originally in the squad, so I need to make sure I do enough now for future selection.
“I’m lucky to be given this chance and so now I have to nail it; I’m relishing the opportunity.”
In preparation for the tournament, the 28-year-old was among the squad that warmed up with a two-match series against World Champions Australia as Britain followed up a 3-1 victory at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre at the weekend with a 6-1 defeat at the Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre on Monday.
And despite the mixed results, it is the experience of competing against the world’s best that Whiteman believes will stand them in good stead as he sets his sights on a top three finish.
“We have been improving over the last three years as a squad and it is really important to have those sort of occasions,“ he added.
“Knowing we can beat the world champions gives us huge confidence and those types of games are the best possible tests ahead of a major tournament.
“It gives us massive encouragement and I think competitively we should be aiming for a top three finish at the minimum.
“We know we are capable of winning it, we have done the hard work and so now it is about putting a marker down and showing the rest of the world what we are capable of.”