England Hockey youth international Oliver Juszt developing his skills at Harleston Magpies and Framlingham College
Oliver Juszt is hoping to one day represent England at senior level – and in Harleston Magpies and Framlingham College he believes that he is part of two institutions that can help to achieve that goal.
The goalkeeper has just been a part of an England Under-18 squad that competed at the recent Six Nations tournament in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, where they recorded victories over their Irish and German counterparts.
It is Juszt’s third year as member of the England set-up. And while he is well aware that there are plenty more obstacles to clear, he is determined to give himself every chance of going all the way.
“That is the big dream – I would love to play for the seniors,” said the 17-year-old. “Hockey is my major passion and I would not put in all of the hard work I do without wanting to go as far as I possibly can.
“I am going to do everything I can to achieve that and make it happen. It has been a brilliant experience at the tournament. Everything came together and the team has really shown what we have learned.”
Last season was Juszt’s first with Harleston Magpies, though his international commitments meant he was limited to just a handful of appearances for the men’s first team in the Premier A Division.
Nevertheless, having someone like coach Tim Whiteman – with all of his England and Great Britain experience – has proven to be an invaluable sounding board for the teenager.
“It was only my first season with Magpies but it was brilliant,” he added. “The club have been great with me right from the start. They understood I could not always train or play because other commitments but they still included me in the first team, which is not always the way in your first season at a new club.
“It is a real high quality environment and Tim has been fantastic with me. We often exchange messages and I could not ask for any more than to have someone like him to talk to.
“He has given me some really good insight and he knows the international system well.”
Framlingham College – and in particular the coaching from Jamie Kingstone – has also played a leading role in Juszt’s development.
“Framlingham has been amazing and so has Jamie. I have been going to his sessions for about five years now,” said Juszt.
“He has good contacts within the goalkeeping set-up at England so he sends them videos of my training and they can give me feedback.
“A lot of schools have good players and good coaches, but Jamie is really ahead of the game – he has been brilliant with me from the start.”
The position of goalkeeper is also one that suits Juszt.
While others may grow up dreaming of scoring the winning goal for their country, trying to keep them out at the other end of the pitch is what excites the England starlet.
“It probably sounds a little bit childish, but I have always enjoyed diving around,” he said.
“When I was a kid I was always getting muddy and dirty, throwing myself around in the rain – it was always fun.
“I also love the impact goalkeepers have on their teams. Goalscorers are obviously important but it is the goalkeeper who keeps his team in the game.
“I like to be the leader of the back four or five, shouting out instructions and controlling the game how I see it unfolding.
“It can be dangerous because the ball travels at very high speeds. I picked up a knock in a training session in The Netherlands, but that is just part of the job.”
More by this authorLiam Apicella