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Bury-based Blumfield impresses selectors

Alex Blumfield experienced the highs and lows of his sport at the recent European Under-18 Hockey Championships in Cork.

The low came with England losing the third and fourth place play-off to Belgium 2-1 on a shootout.

But the high soon followed when he was selected for the England Under-21 development squad, which he will be joining for training next month.

Bury-based Blumfield, who is a former pupil at Culford School, played in all five of England’s matches.

After drawing 2-2 with The Netherlands, England beat Italy 6-0 and followed this up with a 4-2 win against Spain.

They met Germany in the semi-final, and were beaten 5-0.

“It was very disappointing. We didn’t play well against them,” he said.

Then came the play-off against Belgium, which finished 2-2 before the shootout.

“That was a big disappointment,” added the 17-year-old. “We worked hard as a team, and should have finished higher than fourth.”

The news that he had been selected for the Under-21 development squad followed soon after, which he said: “Is a great achievement for me.”

Blumfield, who learned to play hockey in Bury, now plays for the Cambridge City club, whose first team is in England Hockey Men’s Conference East.

The call-up means he faces a fairly intensive next few months, with weekly England squad training sessions at Bisham Abbey, plus matches at weekends.

“It’s going to take a great deal of commitment,” said Blumfield, who completed his A-levels this summer and is now taking a gap year.

“The gap year was always planned, before university, as I am still deciding what I want to do in the future.”

At the moment he is looking for a job which will fit in with his hectic hockey schedule.

The European Championship was his first major tournament for England, and he hopes it will be the first of many.

The next step up is with the Under-23 team, but Blumfield has his sights set on winning a place in the senior side as soon as possible.

“I am ambitious and my aim is to keep working hard at my game and work my way up through the different age groups.”

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