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Page last updated at 14:00 GMT, Saturday, 10 July 2010 15:00 UK

Great Britain hockey on course for 2012 - Mantell

Simon Mantell
Mantell is one of four Reading players in the GB squad

Reading forward Simon Mantell says the Great Britain men's hockey team is on a high as they prepare for the Four Nations tournament in Nottingham.

Mantell returns to international action after missing the World Cup due to a metatarsal injury.

He told BBC Berkshire: "Winning the European Cup was incredible and the guys had a brilliant World Cup as well.

"We're looking to build on that success and keep going up, keep going forward and improving on the way to 2012."

Mantell admitted it has been a frustrating time for him due to his injury.

"It's been a tricky year for me but the rehab has gone well and everything has gone to plan so far," he said. "It's been my first tournament since coming back from that so I'm really looking forward to getting back on the pitch."

Mantell said being able to play as Great Britain two years ahead of the Olympic Games is a bonus to their preparations.

"Normally we would just play as England up until 2011, so the fact that we are starting now is fantastic and getting some game exposure as GB rather than just as England is great for our prospects.

"It's good to have that extra input from the other home nations - it definitely adds to the squad, increases healthy competition within the squad, always pushes us forward."

The Four Nations Tournament will see Great Britain take on reigning Olympic champions Germany, Japan and New Zealand. Mantell says the quality of the competition is also of vital importance to their preparations.

"It's great to get games against top teams," he said. "The Germans have proved over the last three or four years to be one of the best, if not the best teams. They've been ranked world number one for years although Australia have just pipped them, but they're going to be a formidable team.

"But we've had good results against them recently, beating them in the final of the Europeans last year. Japan are a bit of an unknown, so we're looking forward to tough games and it will be an interesting tournament definitely."

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