Ashley Jackson has taken the decision to step away from the GB senior programme in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
After taking some time to speak and reflect with those close to him, after a number of recent injuries, he has made the choice to move on from the programme and focus on his wellbeing and exciting interests away from international hockey.
Having made his international debut in 2006, Ashley has gone on to become widely recognised as one of hockey’s best ever players. He has made 250 appearances for England and Great Britain and won seven medals, including gold with England at the 2009 EuroHockey Championships.
He was also named the 2009 FIH Young Player Of The Year, becoming the first British athlete to receive the accolade, and was selected in the FIH World All Stars XI in 2009 and 2010. In addition, Ashley is one of just 24 players to have represented Great Britain at three Olympic Games.
With a staggering total of 137 goals, he is the record goalscorer for England and Great Britain. He also boasts the second-highest tally of goals for Great Britain at the Olympics, his 11 strikes matching that of Alex Danson-Bennett and only bettered by Sean Kerly (16).
In 2014, he scored an astonishing 31 international goals, the highest amount for any England and Great Britain international in a calendar year in recent memory. He also accrued 23 goals in 2009 and 20 goals the following year; no other player has passed 18 since Jackson made his international debut.
Ashley returned to the senior programme in 2019 having taken a break after Rio 2016 – during which time he played ice hockey for Basingstoke Bison – and helped make hockey history as Great Britain played at Harlequins’ Twickenham Stoop in front of 11,500 people. He also featured in the inaugural FIH Hockey Pro League Grand Final and made his fifth EuroHockey Championships appearance in the same year.
However, with the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, a string of injuries and for personal reasons, he felt it was the right time to step away for the time being.
Ashley said: “As always it’s been a pleasure to play for my country. Things haven’t worked out quite how I wanted for this summer, however I hope I haven’t put the shirt on for the last time.
“I’d like to thank Danny Kerry, Ed Barney, Adam Dixon and the boys for the memories since my return to the programme and I wish them all the best for the summer from the bottom of my heart.”
Great Britain Hockey’s Performance Director Ed Barney said: “We’re sorry to see Ash step away from the programme. Ash has contributed a huge amount since his debut in 2007 – he has been a hugely respected member of the squad and a real asset to the England and Great Britain men’s programme both on and off the pitch throughout the Tokyo cycle.
“With such experience behind him, Ash has brought a massive amount of perspective, wisdom and grounding to the squad. We know this hasn’t been an easy decision but one that Ash has considered and worked through at length.
“We wish Ash all the very best in the coming months and hope that England and Great Britain Hockey can have a close working relationship with him and his passion and excitement for the game over the coming years.”
Danny Kerry – head coach of the Great Britain men’s squad – added: “Following the challenging months within the programme, I understand and respect Ash’s decision to step away. Ash has shown a depth of character and resolve to stand fast and push through a series of rehabilitation and physical conditioning phases.
“During all this time, Ash has contributed in a rich and mature way to the development of his fellow players within the squad. Their hands will be “looser on their sticks” as a result of his time, energy and his experience and for that I know all those who have worked with him during this cycle will be thankful.
“On a personal level I have enjoyed Ash’s company, his passion for the game and seeing the growth in him as a person. I wish Ash well in taking some time to recharge his batteries and I look forward to staying in touch to ‘talk shop’.”
Going forward, Ashley is looking forward to being able to play with Old Georgians HC when club hockey restarts and also hopes to return to the ice as well.
Great Britain Hockey would like to thank Ashley for his phenomenal contribution and efforts over the past fifteen couple of years and we wish him all the very best for the future.