Sunday 22 September 2019

Jackson backing Cross to impress

 

Cross is the one Irish newcomer for this event but Ireland will be without star goalkeeper David Harte for the first time in a major event since 2007 due to injury (stock photo)
Cross is the one Irish newcomer for this event but Ireland will be without star goalkeeper David Harte for the first time in a major event since 2007 due to injury (stock photo)

Stephen Findlater

John Jackson has backed Tim Cross to make a big impact at this week's EuroHockey Championships in Antwerp.

The former Australia international's inclusion for Ireland has caused a stir after he was co-opted into the side last month for the first time. He previously played eight times for the Kookaburras but has since served three years away from the international game to change allegiance as an Irish passport holder via his mother from Newtonards. Jackson - who became the third Irish man to pass 250 caps last month - reckons if Cross did not know the words to 'Ireland's Call' before, he will now.

"He's been stood beside me (for 'Ireland's Call') so he has no choice but to learn the words! I boom it out."

As to whether Ireland should be pursuing players in this manner, Jackson added: "We can't afford to lose out on people like that. It adds an enormous amount and is something a lot of countries have looked at.

"He is insanely fit. He's bossing most of our fitness tests; enormous energy, a high level of basics and is a great competitor. Why we should miss out if there is someone good enough and fit to play for us?"

Cross is the one Irish newcomer for this event but Ireland will be without star goalkeeper David Harte for the first time in a major event since 2007 due to injury.

They face a tough opener against the Netherlands before facing a must-win tie tomorrow against Scotland. Their group finishes on Tuesday against Germany.

Irish Independent

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