Great Britain and England’s most capped player Barry Middleton has retired from international hockey.
The 35-year-old from Doncaster won 432 caps and scored 119 goals combined having played in four Olympics – at which he was captain for two – four World Cups, eight European Championships and four Commonwealth Games in a 16-year career.
“I have been thinking about this decision since Rio (Olympics 2016) and now is the right time for me to step away from international hockey,” said midfield player Middleton, who led England to gold at the 2009 European Championships.
“Priorities in my life have shifted and I am excited to move on to the next phase.
“I feel I have given everything I possibly could to get the best out of myself in the last 15 years, none more so than the build-up to the World Cup last December and I’m not sure I could motivate myself to that level again.”
Middleton, who plays in the Men’s England Hockey League for Holcombe, is highly-respected throughout world hockey and men’s coach Danny Kerry led the tributes. “He is the epitome of world class, a phrase over-used and often misunderstood, but not in this instance,” he said.
I feel I have given everything I possibly could to get the best out of myself in the last 15 years.Barry Middleton
“Barry has given an enormous amount to England and GB Hockey and the sport has been a better place for his presence.”