Captain fantastic Barry to lead Team GB

READY TO GO: Team GB Men's Hockey Team for London 2012 Olympics. Doncaster's Barry Middleton (front, third from left) will captain the team. Picture: hockeyimages.co.uk

READY TO GO: Team GB Men's Hockey Team for London 2012 Olympics. Doncaster's Barry Middleton (front, third from left) will captain the team. Picture: hockeyimages.co.uk

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BARRY Middleton cannot wait to hear the roar of the home crowd after being named skipper for the Team GB men’s hockey side at London 2012.

The 28-year-old (pictured left, front, third from left) will lead the 16-man team into battle at the Olympics later this month with his side tipped for a medal after excellent progress in recent years.

And Middleton believes the vociferous backing the team will receive will help them to glory.

He said: “It’s a great honour to have been selected in Team GB for my third Olympics.

“I’m very proud that I’ll have the chance to experience a home Olympics with the amazing support of the British crowd.

“We have an amazing group of guys who have put themselves through so much pain in search of a dream we all share.

“We’ll be giving our all to achieve this dream while providing a lot of excitement at the same time.

“I look forward to stepping on the pitch in London and hearing that Great British crowd getting behind us.”

Middleton looks set to pass the 100-cap milestone during the Games.

The former Hall Cross pupil currently sits on 98 appearances for Team GB, the sixth most caps in the team’s history.

Team GB have been drawn in Pool A alongside Australia, Spain, Pakistan, Argentina and South Africa with the top two sides reaching the semi finals.

The first set of group matches will take place on Monday, July 30.

As part of their preparations for the Games, the squad will compete in a tri-nations event in Spain next weekend.

They will face off against Beijing Olympic silver medalists Spain and eight time Olympic champions India on Saturday and Sunday in Santander.