Middleton retires after epic career for GB and England

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

Barry Middleton - the most capped player in the history of Great Britain and England Hockey - has announced his retirement from international hockey following 432 caps and 119 goals.

During that time, the now 35-year-old played in four Olympic games, four World Cups, eight European Championships and four Commonwealth Games. He was named in the world team of the year on three occasions, and was nominated for FIH world player of the year in 2018, his final year in international hockey.

Doncaster-born Barry finishes his career with global respect in the hockey world, not just for his ability on the pitch, but also for his conduct off the field of play; professionalism, selflessness and the manner in which he showcases the best of the sport.

In addition, he captained England for the best part of a decade, leading them to EuroHockey gold in 2009, as well as skippering Great Britain at two Olympics, including fourth at the London games in 2012, the men’s team’s best Olympic finish since Seoul 1988.

At club level, he has proudly represented Doncaster, Cannock, East Grinstead and Holcombe, as well as Der Club an der Alster in Germany, HGC in the Netherlands and Ranchi Rays in India, winning a silver medal in the first season of the Euro Hockey League.

He said, “I have been thinking about this decision since Rio and now is the right time for me to step away from international hockey. Priorities in my life have shifted and I am excited to move on to the next phase.

“I feel I have given everything I possibly could to get the best out of myself in the last 15 years, none more so than the build up to the world cup last December and I'm not sure I could motivate myself to that level again.

“It has been an honour to represent my country for so many years and it has been a dream job for me. I hope people could see just how much I enjoy playing the game whether at an Olympics or with Sandy and Redders on the cabbage patch back in Donny.

“Thanks to everyone who has coached, played with or supported me during my career. I look forward to sitting back and watching Great Britain and England knowing that they are in a good place to challenge the best in the world and I will be supporting them every step of the way.”

GB and England men’s Head Coach Danny Kerry commented, “It was an absolute privilege to work with Barry during the short run up to the world cup. He is the epitome of world class, a phrase over used and often misunderstood, but not in this instance.

“Barry has given an enormous amount to England and GB Hockey and the sport has been a better place for his presence. We know Barry intends to stay involved with British hockey which is fantastic. We wish him all the best for the future and are delighted he will be giving back to the sport he is passionate about.”