Barry Middleton insists England have nothing to fear in their Rabobank Hockey World Cup semi-final against host nation Holland.
But the 30-year-old admits today’s last four clash will be a step into the unknown - as his side prepare to tackle a hostile home crowd in The Hague.
Doncaster-born Middleton, who recently became the most capped England and Great Britain player of all time, once played club hockey in Holland and knows exactly what to expect when England come up against one of the tournament favourites.
Middleton’s team booked their semi-final spot with a dramatic 3-2 win over Belgium on Monday night, securing them second place in their group behind unbeaten number one seeds Australia.
“I would have loved England to have won the bid to stage this tournament but when I heard it was in The Hague, with my history here I had a smile on my face,” said Middleton.
“We said we didn’t want to just come and play in a tournament in The Hague, we wanted to come and do something special.
“That’s what we’re looking for.
“We want to play in front of a full stadium. We haven’t had it yet.
“We’ve played in front of good crowds but having seen it on TV it’ll be like nothing we’ve experienced before, unlike the Olympics, the crowd are out to get us this time.
“We’ve nothing to fear, against Belgium we showed everyone the talent this team has.
“If you want to win big games you have to battle and do the dirty stuff and that’s what we did.”
Today’s game starts at 2.15pm. Australia meet Argentina in the other semi-final.