All-rounder Ashley

Ashley Jackson (left) of England is tackled by Belgium's Tanguy Cosyns during a champions trophy match at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar.-SANDEEP SAXENA Ashley Jackson (left) of England is tackled by Belgium's Tanguy Cosyns during a champions trophy match at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar.

The Englishman has been nominated by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) for this year’s ‘Player of the Year’ award. By Y. B. Sarangi.

On the hockey field, Ashley Jackson is omnipresent. He runs from post to post with admirable effortlessness and positions himself well in order to contribute to his team’s cause in every crucial situation.

Jackson dashes into the rival territory with exemplary pace, controls the ball with command in the midfield, runs back to tackle the offenders and converts penalty corners with confidence. With a rare combination of grace, skill, athleticism and intelligence, Jackson stands out as a complete hockey player.

For entertaining the hockey lovers with his gifted abilities and hardwork, Jackson, who scored his 111th international goal during the Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar to surpass Calum Giles’ record and become the highest goal-scorer for England, has been rightly nominated by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) for this year’s ‘Player of the Year’ award.

Serving England in the Champions Trophy at the Kalinga Stadium, the 27-year-old all-rounder said he always loved to be in the thick of action. “You want to be involved in everything. You don’t want to be watching someone (else) doing something. I am happy with the responsibility. There is not as much responsibility in this team any more as there was a few years back because everyone is growing as a player and becoming better and we have a much better squad,” said Jackson.

Jackson said one needed to be mentally flexible in order to develop into an all-rounder. “It is just the way you are as a player. Some people are happy to sit back and be part of something and other people want to be in the forefront. I am happy to be part of a great team with a great bunch of guys. It is enjoyable.”

Taking pride in the England team which has several fine players, Jackson hoped that it would achieve some good result at the highest level.

“This team is great and it is special to be part of it. We are improving all the time. And we just need to make it to the semifinal stage (of a tournament). A couple of times we played as well as we could but got beaten by better teams. We are hoping to make our next step very soon and come back with some good medals.”

He was effusive in his praise for the up and coming players in the England team. “These guys are very talented. Griffiths is a phenomenal striker and a good dribbler and Ward is an out-and-out goal-scorer. So, they are nice additions to the squad and I hope they continue with their good work. They are working hard and learning fast. It is difficult to come into any team as a young guy and pick up the tactical part. They are doing it phenomenally well.”

at the prime of his career, Jackson hopes to provide enjoyment to the fans for many more years.

But when he finally hangs up his stick, he would love to have a “variety of medals” including those from the Olympics and the World Cup.