High tempo and fierce intensity is GB’s major weapon, says Captain Phillips

Jonathan Phillips

Jonathan Phillips

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SHEFFIELD STEELERS’ Jonathan Phillips uinsists Great Britain’s intensity can help lead them to promotion at the World Championships.

Pete Russell’s team begin their World Championship Division 1B campaign in Zagreb against hosts Croatia on Sunday, with the ultimate aim being for them to top their group and move up a level on the world stage.

Last year’s diappointment in Eindhoven - when defeat on the final day to Lithuania saw them miss out on promotion - will still be fresh in the minds of the players involved 12 months ago.

But Phillips believes a longer-than-normal training camp back home in the UK, combined with an earlier pre-Olympic qualifying campaign back inFebruary will only help this year’s roster drive forward.

Their most likely rival for promotion will be top seeds Ukraine, who they fce in the final game on Saturday.

Before then – after today’s opener – they will also have to face Estonia, Lithuania and Romania.

Rob Dowd, left, in Croatia. Picture: Colin Lawson.

Rob Dowd, left, in Croatia. Picture: Colin Lawson.

“I think the last week of training camp and the two games against Poland, the boys have enjoyed their time together,” said Phillips, who was confirmed as wearing the ‘C@ at lunchtime, with Steelers’ team-mate Robert Dowd and Mark Richardson picked as his assistants.

“There has been a longer camp this year and the boys are very excited for this tournament.”

After arriving in Zagreb on Thursday afternoon,Russell’s players had two training sessions on Friday and one on Saturday.

“We’re a hard working group and we like to be intense,” continued Phillips. “We like to keep things at a high tempo.

We’re a hard working group and we like to be intense

Great Britain captain, Jonathan Phillips.

“We know these tournaments are all about speed and quick puck movement.

“We try and simulate that in our training sessions and to succeed we need to do that.

“Things won’t change now we are here.”

Coach Russell believes a never-say-die attitude will only serve his players well in the coming days.

GB's players check out the DOm Sportova Arena where they will play all their games in Zagreb this week. Picture: Colin Lawson.

GB's players check out the DOm Sportova Arena where they will play all their games in Zagreb this week. Picture: Colin Lawson.

“This side just does not know when it is beaten and we showed that on more than one occasion last season,” said Russell.

“Our spirit, determination and never-say-die attitude is fantastic.

“There is a close-knit bond betweent these players and they will go to the wall for each other.”

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