Former Ipswich School pupil George Pinner recovers from injury ahead of Hockey World Cup and Commonwealth Games
International goalkeeper George Pinner has battled back from potential injury heartbreak and sits on the verge of playing in his first World Cup and Commonwealth Games.
The England number one and ex-Ipswich School pupil suffered the same injury as Ipswich Town’s David McGoldrick when he tore the Anterior Cruciate Ligament in his knee, in the same month (February), and feared his hopes of a glorious summer were over.
However, the experienced Beeston stopper returned quicker than expected last month and was the hero in the play-off shoot-out as his team retained their league title, with victory against East Grinstead, in Reading.
The 27-year-old is now preparing for a Four Nations invitational tournament, along with fellow former Ipswich School pupil, Harry Martin, in Dusseldorf against Holland, Belgium and hosts Germany, before the World Cup begins in Holland on May 31.
“I suffered the same injury as David McGoldrick and the doctor told me that I would be out for 10 weeks,” said Ipswich Town fan Pinner.
“I did it playing in a club match and it was an innocuous incident with one of the former GB lads.
“I was told initially it (the ACL) could have been fully ripped and I thought ‘brilliant, what a waste of two years’.
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“Luckily, there was still some of the ligament intact and I kind of made it my target to beat him (McGoldrick) back.
“I got back playing after some intense rehab and fantastic physio and it’s been somewhat of a blessing in disguise as the seven weeks off have enabled me to get that hunger back in my game.”
Pinner was part of the England team that won bronze at the Hockey World League Finals in India, in January.
The England team will head to Holland in good spirits and aiming for gold – before trying to cap the summer with another gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, which start on July 23.
“In terms of standard, the World Cup is the joint or second-biggest event behind the Olympics,” said Pinner.
“As far as the media is concerned, the Commonwealths are considered bigger but a gold at the World Cup would be incredible.
“It’s a really competitive tournament and our group (Australia, Belgium, India, Spain, Malaysia) is so tight.
“Anyone can beat anyone, but we’ve had pressure on us before and we know we can go to the World Cup and and perform.”